Growing your business is one thing, and managing your earnings is another. Therefore, you must not keep expanding your business aimlessly and instead start rescaling revenue. Exploring this topic with Dr. Diane Hamilton is Kent Billingsley, the Founder and President of Revenue Growth Company. He explains how to make the most out of your business just by optimizing the resources you currently have. Kent also discusses the importance of keeping a business unique and why entrepreneurs must not depend solely on their products or workforce.
Getting with the flow of life is easy, but doing so may not open many doors to self-growth and improvement. Instead, we need to get on our boat and work our oars by living proactively. Dr. Diane Hamilton is joined by Sean Rosensteel, the Founder of Intentional Living Academy, in discussing how he changed the course of his life after going bankrupt, writing a book, and learning book marketing. Sean also shares his journey as an author, his experiences in the Academy, and avoiding social media distractions.
We have Kent Billingsley and Sean Rosensteel here. Kent is the Founder and President of Revenue Growth Company. Sean is the author of The School Of Intentional Living. We’re going to have a great conversation.
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Rescaling Revenue with Kent Billingsley
I am here with Kent Billingsley who is the Founder and President of the Revenue Growth Company. He has become America’s growth revenue architect by helping thousands of entrepreneurs and CEOs to generate several billion in new sales as well as tens of billions in new revenue and profits for large organizations. It’s nice to have you here.
I was looking forward to this, Kent. It’s a little bit different to talk about revenue growth and I noticed you have that as a registered trademark. Is that the name of your company? Is that a thing you say you do? What did you register?
It came from the genesis of all the work I’ve been doing years ago. What I uncovered and discovered inside companies all over the world was they’re far too focused on business growth, getting bigger, sometimes better. When they should, if they want to be successful, create wealth, and be able to ride through the tough times, they need to learn how to generate revenue growth. That sounds like interchangeable words and most people do that but the way I define revenue growth is that you scale revenue against your assets, meaning you sign larger contracts, you generate more per product, and more per location.
With every asset you have from people to contract, sales, products, and services, you’re generating more profitable revenue when you focus on the revenue growth side. A real quick example is if your average sale is let’s say $1,000, $10,000 or $1 million, you could sell a lot more of those but your cost of sales, adding infrastructure, overhead, support, all your costs go way up, and that eats profits. If you sell $1 million contract and you could sell $5 million, you eliminated dozens of areas of costs which become pure profit. My work has been speaking around the world to understand what revenue growth is and how you design and build your company to achieve that and optimize success.
I’m thinking of a course I’m teaching to students who are trying to be entrepreneurs and they’re developing a business plan. We talk about efficiency, scale, and a lot of the things not reinventing the wheel. When you buy in bulk, you would have some discounts in certain things. Are you more looking at efficiency scale? What is your main focus?
That’s where the language is important. People use the words but they add their meanings from the last century to them. You can only be so efficient. You can only be so effective and that helps with optimization but real scaling or revenue growth is when you’re producing more from an asset. Let’s say we have a product and we can sell 1,000 of those. A lot of people would say, “Let’s bring on more products and sell more thousands of it.” What if we could sell 10,000 of those products or what if we could sell that product and get ten times the revenue each sale we make?
In other words, you’re not adding but you’re scaling against a number. It almost sounds semantics but it’s not because what we’re trying to do is produce more from X. When we can do that, what makes that powerful is that’s what creates wealth inside a company. We don’t have to spend more time, resources, more dollars, more of anything to generate X. That all becomes pure profit, cash-on-hand cashflow, or working capital. That’s what creates wealth. That’s the reason so many companies are struggling going out of business and will never open is because they were trying to grow but they never created wealth inside their firm to get them through the rough times.
Scaling, the way most people use that concept or term is they think, “If I can deliver X number of products, I can make five deliveries a day. If I could add more people, then I can make 10, 20 or 30 deliveries a day.” That’s a form of scaling but that’s not scaling against an asset. If I could have one individual deliver ten times a day or if I could produce X widgets or products, some factor where it didn’t cost me more or our costs may vary little, all of a sudden we start scaling to where we’re creating huge profitability. At the end of the day, it’s not how much money a business makes, it’s how much you can keep and use other ways.
A lot of people are doing either software as a service or different kinds of things that are not more expensive necessarily to produce more. Are you dealing with that product or is it a physical widget product?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a brick and mortar retail, cyber offering, or digital offering. Anything can be scaled more if we talk about the clients that have been in the retail space. If we could generate more per store without opening more stores, we didn’t increase our infrastructure. We may have increased our headcount a little bit but we didn’t increase our overall infrastructure, our management, our travel, all the other things as you open more stores. One of the things, and this would be good for your students or who you’re helping, is to understand the difference between incremental success and optimization.
An incremental is where each year, each quarter, we increase by some percentage. Optimization is when you maximize your production of everything using the least amount of resources doing. I’ve got hundreds of case studies of where if a salesperson’s quota was $1 million for the year or the quarter. In one case, we helped the salesperson sell $13 million in one quarter and no cap. What’s so beautiful about that is instead of hiring twelve more salespeople and then adding eight more categories of costs for each salesperson, and then adding dozens of extra sales cycles because you don’t go in every one of them.
Now I’ve got one person producing 12 to 13 times more than what they were required to do. My support and my infrastructure costs go down. My support to the client goes down because we only have one client as opposed to thirteen more clients. That’s optimization. That’s how you create wealth inside a company because you’re not living in the last century’s paradigm of spend more to make more. You’re generating a lot more with less. That’s why so many companies are in trouble. They’re living the last century’s paradigm in many ways but one of them is this more for more. If I spend more on marketing, SEO, add more salespeople, add more products, all this more, I should get more. They do but they’re adding to the top line and they’re destroying their bottom line.
If you have more of guy or gal or whoever that was and able to duplicate or replicate what that person does, would it be good if you can do that?
Yes, or could we produce more from that individual? Could this person produce $20 million a year? I always look at the revenue scalability from an individual, product, service, contract, or even a client. Here’s a great example. We’ve been using these statistics for years. It cost 8 to 10 times more to generate a new client than keeping an existing one. Through account penetration, if you can maximize what you’re generating from a single client, then your costs are way down and your profits are way up.
I’ve worked in sales in many industries and it’s scary. I was thinking in pharmaceutical sales, what they would do, which was not motivating for me, is they give you a forecast and they say, “We’d hope you generate about 105% of forecast.” They’d give you this forecast. If you came in at 110% the next year, they’d increase your forecast to try and get you back to 105%. If you came in at 100%, they decrease it and try to keep you at 105%. There was no incentive to do anything because you were going to be adjusted the next year. I never understood that thinking.
It’s phenomenal. I came up through the sales ranks decades ago. The more successful I was, I would shatter quotas, they would cut my territory and increase my number. After a few years of that, I kept going, “My territory is the smallest of anyone. My numbers are highest of anyone. What’s going on here?” I got frustrated. You bring up an interesting point because I have CEOs and entrepreneurs on occasion. They said, “I don’t want my salespeople to make a lot of money.” I said, “Yes, you do.”
Why don’t they? What’s the reason?
They’ll leave, get lazy, and they’ll quit. They gave me all these stories. I said, “I understand the feeling but I’ll tell you, the reality is the opposite.” I had salespeople working for me in the software space making seven figures a year. The way I designed the compensation system was that there were accelerators, bonuses, and all kinds of trigger points to make more money. Over a three-year-period in software sales, I had zero unplanned turnovers at 5% turnover in an industry that averages 40% turnover.Learn that you're going to win with winners. Click To Tweet
On top of that, what was even more beautiful was I didn’t have to use recruiters or even HR to find people. The top people from the top companies were calling me and saying, “Could we come work for you?” I had a stack of resumes from the National Salesperson of the Year from my competitors wanting to come work for me when I could get an open headcount. It’s counterintuitive. When I hear someone that says, “I don’t want myself feeling like a lot of money. I don’t want them to be too successful,” I’m saying, “You do because you’re not going to need more. You’re going to attract and retain the best of the best.” I talk a lot about it, “If you don’t have the best talent working for you, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.”
You bring up some good points. I sold software in the ‘80s as a value-added reseller for IBM. I guess it depends on what I sold. If it was pharmaceutical sales, it was different from software sales, real estate, and lending. In lending, they waited for quite a ways to cap you but it seems like everything was limiting. When I hear that they don’t want you to leave, I’m thinking, “Who would want to leave if you’re making that much money?” You’d want to stay. You’re worried about if you get these heavy-duty hitters, you have all your eggs in one basket, and that person leaves, how can you reproduce what these people are able to do? Are you helping them with that?
I’m going to almost backtrack a little bit. The first thing, the last century’s models that people are still following that they’ve got to move off of is when you make a salesperson the center of your universe and you become dependent upon that individual or company success, you’re in a lot of trouble. In nowaday’s complex sales, if you were a VAR for IBM, you were not in transaction or simple sales, you were in complex sales.
In 2000, when I would give speeches and talk about sales competencies which are clusters of skillsets being applied to produce consistent results, I used to say that 1 in 1,000 salespeople are professional and competent to handle all phases of a complex sale but nowadays, it’s only 1 in 2,500. What that means is that for many companies, the success of their business, the future, the ability to generate wealth and increase the valuation is resting on the shoulders of people that might be incompetent.
Do you think a lot of that comes from too many teams now as compared to individual responsibilities?
It’s poor architecture. That’s why I’ve picked up the title years ago, Revenue Growth Architect, is because I don’t architect organizations to be dependent upon people or products. We build it to be dependent and bond the enterprise. In other words, the organizations I designed at the heartbeat is processed, how things get done and how work gets accomplished.. People play a role in the process but they can’t be the process. As soon as you become dependent on individuals, product, or single client, you bring too much risk into the equation and then your company is set up not that it can’t be successful, but outside buyers.
I have a lot of clients that ended up selling their companies. A buyer will look in it and they see those risks and they say, “You’ve got one Rainmaker. If they quit, leave, retire, or what happens, you’ve got a single product that you’re too dependent on or you have a sole source provider. That’s a lot of risks or you have that one super large client that makes 80% to 85% of your portfolio. That’s a risk.” What we want to do is design a business to produce maximum revenue, profits, and sales using the fewest resources but not having what I call a people-dependent model or a product-dependent model.
What about the search engine-dependent model? Google changes things.
It’s fascinating. Many CEOs and entrepreneurs come to us and they said, “We’re spending a fortune on SEO, digital marketing, PR firms, all this and we’re not growing. We’re not getting the success we want or we believe we could.” I said, “That’s because you’re not set up for success. You’re deep in the go-to market phase but in most cases, you were never revenue ready or market ready to generate the most sales possible using the fewest resources.” They burn all this time and energy. Here’s this statistic I can give you because I’ve been doing this for so long around the world. Sixty-seven percent of sales and marketing efforts are a complete waste of time, money, and resources.
Having worked in real estate and lending, especially small entrepreneur jobs where you’re working as a solopreneur and that kind of thing, I see a lot of people who throw a lot of money at different ad campaigns and different things. They try doing A/B testing and stuff. What are you seeing people especially with the solopreneurs, people who are speakers or they’re trying to get consulting gigs, what do you think the biggest mistake those kinds of people make?
It holds true as you’re a billion-dollar mature organization, international, multinational, or you’re an individual entrepreneur starting up in business. I’ve identified over the years, there are four phases to optimizing wealth with your products and services. That first phase is becoming revenue-ready. What that means to a couple of the key principles in there is identifying a fundamental marketplace problem. It’s not being solved or it’s underserved. Building a unique model, doing something different or unique that no one else was providing to satisfy that, and then identifying the revenue streams, that can turn that into money.
That’s revenue ready and that’s a validation phase. What’s so fascinating is when I go into companies that have been around for 20, 30 years, I have to go back and ask, “What’s the fundamental marketplace problem you’re solving?” They can’t tell me. They’re like, “We’ve been offering this service for years. We’re trying to grow.” I’m saying, “That’s the problem. You’re either detached or unattached to what was broken or is not broken. It’s having a boat on the ocean without a rudder. You’re going to slide all over the place.”
That’s the first phase that sets up companies and entrepreneurs for underperformance. What’s interesting is most leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, as soon as they figure out a product or service, they go to market. They skip the second phase that’s critical. I call it the market-ready phase. Market-ready means our targeting, packaging, messaging, and pricing. It’s answering these real strategic questions, who, what, where, when, why, and how so that we can attract the most business possible using the fewest resources and humans doing it.
Nobody wants to do and go through this phase. When I started that phase with targeting questions, “Tell me about your demographics, psychographics, and characteristics of your perfect client profile,” they can’t tell me who buys, why they buy, or who they want to buy. It doesn’t matter who buys it, then you ended up taking whoever you can get, you end up making up a portfolio of average or good clients versus the best of the best.
That’s why I tell a lot of people, “You have to learn that you’re going to win with winners. If you try to build a company based on losers or low-quality clients, you’re going to pay a fortune to support them, service them, keep them, retain them, meet their expectations.” That’s all profit and money. You’re not going to be creating a wall. You might be running a business but you’ll never make serious money with it. Those two phases are what sets up go-to market.
The ones you mentioned such as a speaker, entrepreneur, new product, or service, if they don’t work through those two phases and they go to a market phase where you market, sell, partner, build a pipeline, that becomes a money shredder. You’re burning time, spinning, frustrated, and it’s stressful. The inconsistencies, the low profitability, the inability to forecast or predict, all those horrific things that everybody experiences. In almost all cases, I can tie those back to a failure point in being revenue-ready or market-ready.
What should they be asking themselves if they’re not making the money or they’d want those types of things?
They should go back and say, “What is the problem I’m trying to solve? What’s the fundamental marketplace problem?” I can use my business because there are so many examples. When I started this firm years ago, I said, “What’s broken?” The market doesn’t need more trainers, coaches, consultants, speakers, books, people telling them how to grow their business and how to spend money to make money. What they need is a solution that teaches them how do you make money without spending money? How do you double and triple your sales, revenue, and profits and not spend another dollar, dime, or hour doing it? That’s the problem that wasn’t being solved.
It’s so frustrating for people, even yourself. You’re saying, “How do I double or triple the size of this but not spend more time or money doing it?” It helped me with that. I’ll knock down your door. I’m going to push the envelope even further next year to give you an example to win as the provider, you take on more risks. I’m going to offer guaranteed results programs, not satisfaction. If you’re in one of our programs or group programs and you don’t generate back the revenue that you’ve invested in the program, here’s your check and money back. We will guarantee your results so that you, as a client, have no risk. That’s where the world is going, either the world is forcing companies to take away the risk.You're at a competitive disadvantage if you don't have the best talent working for you. Click To Tweet
In other words, an opportunity for free, or you can be proactive and say, “I’ll go ahead and take all the risks now for you because I want to differentiate.” That’s where it’s so important. To answer your question, entrepreneurs and business owners, they have to say, “What is unique about my model? What am I doing that differentiates and that brings more value to the clients?” Sometimes in speeches and workshops, I work through examples of the pizza industry. I talk through Pizza Hut. Their value-add was a dedicated building to Pizza Hut.
I thought that was the greatest thing ever when I was a kid. Other companies didn’t come along and say, “We’ll duplicate that.” The other companies came along and said, “This is an explosive industry for me to make money. I’ve got to offer a different model.” Domino’s said, “You don’t even have to get dressed up, go out, and sit in the building. We’ll bring a pizza to you.” In this case, they’re saying, “We’re going to fight it out on delivery.”
Papa John’s comes along and they go, “We don’t want to build the buildings where people can sit and eat because they’re expensive. It’s infrastructure. You got to have labor and waiters. We don’t want to fight it out on delivery because you can’t do it 30 minutes or less. You’re going to cause wrecks and be sued for the liability. We’re going to fight it out on quality. We’re going to offer the highest quality, not frozen, not sugared down sauce and all that. We’re going to offer the highest quality. We’re going to put it on our tagline, ‘Better ingredients, better pizza.’” Pizza Hut sued them. They went through the court system and Papa John’s won. This is a different approach on a model. If you’re sitting back and saying, “How do I go after the $40 billion or $100 billion pizza industry?” We have to come at it from a different model in our cities.
I know what it is. Can I guess? They’ll come and feed it to you in bed next. That would be my choice.
They talked about making it at your door, a pizza truck, but that’s got coding issues. In our city, we have a company and I’ll give you the name for the company that came along and said, “Let’s not fight it out on brick and mortar, dash to door, and quality because those areas have all been attacked but let’s fight it out in another way.” These smart people stepped back and said, “Let’s borrow from supermarkets, Subway, allow people to come in and customize their own pizza through an assembly line process like Subway and they can take and bake.”
Two things happened because most people were looking at the pizza industry and saying, “I would never fight it out in that business because it’s saturated.” Not the business, but the cheese. These guys came along and said, “The industry has grown fast. There’s got to be a way to make money in this. We’ll use a different model. We’ll do a Take ‘N’ Bake model.” Two beautiful things happened. One of them is they don’t need ovens in their stores. Their footprint is smaller. They don’t need to hire people that can manage ovens, deal with the danger and liability of hot devices inside the company. Even a more beautiful thing happened and it’s by state.
In our state, if you own a grocery item, there’s no tax. In my particular city, that’s an 8.25% discount. All of a sudden, Papa Murphy’s offers a Take ‘N’ Bake in high quality. You can come in and get it, and then heat it up whenever you want. They’re 8.25% cheaper than competitors who have to charge a sales tax. If your entrepreneur or anybody, you look at the industry and say, “What’s not being solved or what’s being underserved? What’s an attack point? How do I build a model that can satisfy that attack point? What would be the revenue streams to validate and create sustainable, fast growth, profitable business?”
I’ve had somebody on who talked about how Domino’s stock outperformed everybody because of the technology they added for you to be able to order on your phone. There are many ways to go in sales. You brought up many great ideas. A lot of people learned a lot from this. I did. I was hoping you would share how people could reach you and follow you to find out more.
The best is our websites at RevenueGrowthCompany.com. If they want to reach out to me personally, KentB@RevenueGrowthCompany.com. Go there to the website, if you will. We’re going to be adding more assessments. I’ve got some CEO Knowledge Letters. We’re going to be offering some eCourses. We’re going to populate that website as a new book rolls out in 2021.
I love assessments so I got to check that out. It was so nice to have you on, Kent. This was interesting.
Thank you. I enjoyed being on and talking to you.
It was fun.
Redirecting Your Life Proactively with Sean Rosensteel
Thanks for having me, Diane. It’s a pleasure.
We had a great conversation the last time we talked and I wanted to follow-up with what we said. You’ve got an Amazon Bestseller across five categories, which is a huge thing. You were telling me a little bit about what made you want to write a book and the process you had to go through. You have the Intentional Living Academy that you do in conjunction with what you write about. We’ll talk about the Intentional Living Academy later but tell me about The School Of Intentional Living.
The book was published in July of 2020 and I’m happy with the results. What stemmed the whole desire to write a book was in my late twenties, I went bankrupt. I grew up with this conventional idea of success. Big homes, fast cars, it was all about status, and material possessions. That was the main driver in my life. When I went bankrupt, my entire identity, in a sense, was stripped away. I thought I was all of these things. When I went bankrupt, it was a real wake up call for me. I feel fortunate because at that time, it was exactly one month before my wedding date.
It was a little bit of a challenging time. However, I do look back on it as a bit of a blessing. I experienced that event at a time in my life where I could afford to make those mistakes. Fast forward to ten years later, luckily, my fianceé at that time gave me the confidence that I wasn’t able to give myself. She hung in there which was a big blessing. Now we find ourselves doing better and we have three beautiful children. It’s amazing how much can transpire over a ten-year-period. That was a real blessing for me because it shifted me. I lost my entire identity. I questioned this idea of conventional living, conventional success. The things that I’ve organized my entire life around, do those truly matter to me?
I know they matter to my environment, peers, and influences but I’ve never been taught what to decide I want out of life and how to define success based on my unique values, circumstances, and situation. It was a real wake up call. A lot of us are experiencing that. A lot of us have lost loved ones. We’ve lost our jobs or that financial security. This pandemic is shaking us out of our daily routine. We’ve lost comfort, convenience, and certainty in many ways. That’s one of the reasons the book has done.By shifting to a much proactive life, your whole world can change. Click To Tweet
It’s because a lot of people are coming up for air and saying, “What is intentional living look for me? I want to live more intentionally moving forward. I’ve been going through the motions for a while. What does this look like for me?” I also had an incredible advanced reader campaign. I had over 100 people that were supportive and generous enough to read the book ahead of time, provide a lot of valuable feedback, and write some of the first reviews on Amazon. We had an incredible launch team of about twenty people.
How did you know to do that?
I’ve been wanting to write this book, Diane, for many years because I’ve been teaching Intentional Living since 2014 and coaching it. It was recommended to me many times that I should write a book and use the framework because it was versatile and custom-tailored to each and everyone who used it. That’s a lot of the feedback I’ve received. What I’ve come to recognize is that there’s a lot of frameworks for personal development, growth, living intentionally, and all the rest of it. Oftentimes, they are a little bit rigid like, “Here’s the path you have to take. No deviation.” Mine is a little bit more fluid and flexible.
I encourage people to take my discovery and approach, and make it work for them based on where they are in life. The stage in life that they’re at and what’s important to them. I take them through discovery. At the end of the day, I finally had an idea in 2019 as far as the entry point into writing about this broad subject of Intentional Living. It was intimidating to me. I had this like, “Who am I to write this book?” The attitude and that mindset. I’m an avid reader and I’ve always appreciated the many authors who have been my mentors over the years. They’ve had the courage to organize and clarify their thoughts into the written word and expose themselves to public criticism at the end of the day. That always scared me.
People can be rough.
It was a lot of mental battle getting over all of that. What was nice is once I sat down to write it, it took me three days, which is amazing because it was bottled up for many years. It took me three days and I’m like, “I’m done.” All of a sudden, I got into the editing phase. I got my butt ticked and my feeling is hurt by my two editors. They did such a fantastic job. The real work began when I started the editing phase which was interesting but I’m grateful for all the editorial work that went into it. It certainly needed it because it was more of a vomit draft.
It is definitely a mind dump when you first start writing. I get the same thing. You got to get it out of you and then you go, “Now what do I do with it?”
At the beginning of 2020, I set this goal to publish a book and that was my goal. I’m into goal setting and finding out the reasons behind the goals, the purpose behind the goals, and trying to stack those motivators on top of the goals I set because I used to be horrible at setting goals for myself. I used to set impotent goals as what I would call it. I’ve learned over the years to set potent goals that will propel me, fuel me, and motivate me intrinsically to advance in the direction of whatever those dreams look like. I said, “This year is the year I’m going to publish a book.”
A few weeks later, I’m like, “That’s not enough.” I shifted that and I said, “I want to publish a bestseller.” The moment I shifted that focus from publishing a book to publishing a bestseller, I recognized early in the year that I need to learn book marketing and how to market. There’s a lot to it. On the other side of this entire project, I see it as six primary phases. I do intend to write a book again. I’m going to focus on this Intentional Living topic for a few years. It deserves my time and attention. That’s important enough. While I have a bunch of other ideas to write books, I’m not going to go there for a few years.
However, I do see that there are about six phases. For the audience who’s interested in writing a book, hopefully, this can help. I went through this planning and outlining phase, you move into the writing phase, the editorial phase, then you move into design. All of a sudden, I thought the worst was over. I need to decide on the title, subtitle, and get the cover artwork done. There are some outside flaps and all that stuff. You move into design then you move into publishing. The final phase is marketing. By shifting the goal upfront back in early January 2020 from publishing a book to publishing a bestseller, it triggered me and I realized, “I better figure out how to market books.”
I’ve been studying entrepreneurship and marketing for years but I’ve never looked into how do I market a book. I started taking training. I joined a mastermind, which was very helpful. I read two dozen books on how to market books. I learned a lot of that along the way as I was moving from one of these phases to the next. In the background, I was learning the art and science and some of the best of breed practices in book marketing which helped me anticipate, “Once the book publishes, you’re not done. That’s where the hard work begins because now you have to sustain your message and you have to continue moving copies.”
I knew right away that I wanted to create an advanced reader campaign and I had about 100 or so people in that database and I thought, “I know close friends and family that are interested in growth, purpose, and living intentionally. They might be good readers.” Luckily, they were. Most people accepted the invitation to get an advanced copy of the book a few months early with the understanding that they could write a review during the launch week. I took from that group of 100 people, there was about 20% of them who were nice enough to agree to help my wife and I ultimately manage the launch.
We called that the launch team, made a lot of things on social media, and created a bunch of good momentum behind launch week, which was great. There’s post-launch. You’ve experienced this. I learned about the launch hangover. I learned about this ahead of time. You launch your book, there’s a ton of buzz, and you get done with the first 72 hours the first week or so of launch. All of a sudden, you experienced this hangover like sales fall off a cliff. I knew I needed to learn different strategies to sustain the book sales over the long-term. That’s helped. The book has been published now. It was late July 2020 when it published. We’re up to the 3,500 or even 4,000 copy mark which, for me, a little self-published author with no big agency publisher team behind me, I’m happy with those results.
It’s interesting what you write about as well. Your experience reminded me when I had a conversation with Rich Karlgaard who wrote Late Bloomers. He’s a big guy at Forbes and he had written this great book. He wrote about people who don’t necessarily hit their big mark and idea right in their twenties. If you don’t get into Harvard by a certain age, they don’t write it off. It ties into your message. Sometimes, you hit bankruptcy or you hit these snags that are eye-openers that lead to your big late-blooming thing later. In your book, I saw some of the ideas. You write about the difference between being proactive and reactive. You’re going to be reactive to bankruptcy. How did that change you to make you be more proactive in the future?
For many years, late teenage years and throughout my entire twenties, I was making negligent and complacent decisions. I was letting my environment and my peer influence what I believe was important at that time. It’s easy if you live a conventional life where you go to school, move beyond school, get that job, maybe settle down, start a family. You hope that someday you’ll experience this cozy retirement. If you look at the stats, it’s not pretty. That template, unfortunately, isn’t working as well as once did a few decades ago.
For me, the key to living a successful life, no matter how you define success, we’re all unique and we’re all different, it’s moving from that place of conventional living to intentional living. That was the real wake up call. That was the pivotal moment in my life where I started to discover what mattered to me and how can I align my actions, behaviors, and decisions with some of my values and some of the goals that I wanted to pursue in life. When we live proactively, I don’t want to use the word control because none of us are in control.
That’s a sensitive word but when some of us can start to design environments that are conducive to our success, when we can start to loosely plan the upcoming week for ourselves instead of rolling into Monday and reacting all day to the demands. All of a sudden, we hit the end of the week, Friday comes up and we’re like, “What happened?” I didn’t accomplish anything that I set out to do this week. That’s reactive and it’s easy to live in reactivity. For many of us, that’s our default mode. Making that shift to living a more proactive life, commanding our environments, deciding what matters to us, and scheduling out some of our highest priorities on our calendar, and minimizing our distractions, our whole world can change. There’s a whole new world out there that I never realized existed before I started to command some of these things in my own life.
You wrote about simple ways to eliminate distraction. What advice can you give in that respect?
I call them weapons of mass distraction. Here we are, Diane, living in the information age. What’s fascinating is that we have access to more wisdom in the palm of our hands via these smartphones than previous generations did. Their access was limited to the shelves at the local library so we have this incredible responsibility. I appreciate the fact that 98% of the information out there on the internet may not be conducive to our growth or improving ourselves as human and spiritual beings. The fact of the matter is there is access to great information but we need to know what we want and what we need.When we're weighing making changes, we should also assess fairly and weigh the cost of not doing anything. Click To Tweet
We need to know where our weaknesses are, what strengths we want to improve upon, build over time, and what skillsets. There’s a lot of awareness there ahead of time. Unfortunately, what comes with that is a lot of distraction. Back in the 1840s, they called it the gold rush out in California. This age, my prediction is it’s going to be known as the attention rush. Everybody, everything, every business is after your attention 24/7. There’s that old fancy quote, “We have to stand guard at the doors of our mind.”
It’s easy for us to get almost normalized distraction but I like to do something. This is in the book but I call it play the long game with some of the distractions I have in my life. For example, statistics suggest that the average American adult watches roughly four hours of TV a day. For many of us, our weapon of mass distraction is the television whether it’s news or it’s bingeing Netflix, you name it. It’s out there. It’s tough, it’s difficult, and it’s not easy. For me, many years ago, it was my smartphone. Before the screen time report was available to us in the settings area, that’s on Android, Apple, you name it. Whatever else you have, now had screen time reports. That is primarily for them. Not that it’s silly for you.
That’s the privacy thing. I downloaded an app many years ago before the screen time report became a default setting. There was an app called Moment and I downloaded it. I used it for a week as recommended. I was getting ready for bed. My wife and I were happening. I went to charge my phone and I happened to check the Moment app. I’m at the two-week mark or whatever it was. I said, “I’ve been on my phone on average two hours a day.” She’s like, “That sounds good.”
I’m like, “Is that good? Let’s play the long game. Let’s do the math.” I multiplied two hours a day x 365 days a year, and said, “I hope to be alive for another 50 good years in me.” I multiplied out the annual hours by 50 and then divided by 24 and then divided by 365. I’m like, “If I keep this up and I live until I’m 80, I will have spent over four years of my life thumbing through garbage content at that time that doesn’t do anything to support my growth as an individual. This is crazy.” At 80, it’s 5% of my life that my attention is being directed into the screen.
For many of us, weapons of mass distraction, the common thread that I’ve seen after working with so many people in groups over the years, it’s the screen. It could be social media for some people. It could be text messaging, Netflix bingeing, or YouTube. They could be scraping the internet for these random articles. We get to the end of a blog and we see some gross looking wart. We’re like, “What the heck is that?” It could be anything. We have to be aware of some of these things and take some accountability for ourselves and say, “If I don’t make some of these changes, what does this look if I play the long game? What does this look over the next years?”
What that does is it gives us some good indication of if we don’t make a shift and if we don’t get more control over some of these distractions that we truly can control in our lives, what’s the net effect of that? We talked briefly about mindset. Carol Dweck efficiency versus growth motivation. What that awareness does is it helps us to use that deficiency motivation to our advantage because oftentimes we weigh. Sometimes, we want to make a change in life whether it’s in our health, wealth, and relationships.
Many of us want to make changes and we weigh the risks. We assess the risks of making some of these big changes and we decide it’s safer and more comfortable to stay put. What we found to do is we found to play the long game with staying put, but let’s also assess the risk of what my life looks like in five additional years. The important distinction is when we’re weighing making changes here, we should also assess fairly and also weigh the cost of not doing anything.
You bring up some important points. You mentioned before the weaknesses, opportunities, and different things. I often have my students do a personal SWOT analysis when we’re doing certain things. I have incorporated this SWOT exercise in my curiosity training. Once you recognize the threats and weaknesses, you can overcome them by creating actionable ways or items that you can develop smart goals and reach the next level. You do a lot of helping people in your Academy and you discuss Intentional Living there as well. I’m curious about the events in your Academy. Is this a mastermind? Is it something that people attend through webinar? What exactly is the Intentional Living Academy? Who is your clientele? Is there a certain age group or certain group that you focus on?
I have the book and then the Intentional Living Academy simply put it. It’s a twelve-module online course. I’m finding that there are many readers. In the book, there are free resources, tools, and video tutorials. A lot of people will download those which is awesome. It’s so exciting to see because that tells me that they’re applying the lessons in the book. That’s what I want. I want to make that impact to deliver those results to people. There’s a certain percentage of people that need advanced training. They want to go a little further and deeper. The Intentional Living Academy is there to support them in a more advanced and deeper way. What I’ve also realized is that there’s a lot of people who appreciate and value community, comradery, more personalized coaching, and ultimately accountability.
Many of us will read books and we love what’s in there but then are we going to be disciplined and accountable enough to schedule implementing what’s in the book in our life. I’ve created these Acceleration Programs which are more like masterminds. They’re group coaching anywhere from 10 to 25 people in these cohorts. That’s been an exciting thing because that’s where I do deliver even more advanced training. We get to do some meditations, some mindset exercises, and things of that nature together as a group. Ultimately, we form a community. It’s neat because it’s one of the chapters in my book about getting together with like-minded people who are all after the same things that you are but are also struggling with some of the same things as you are.
In the past few years, it helped me. It provided me with a real boost. It’s to identify first what I need the most and what I want the most. As an add-on to everything I’m learning and applying, how can I get involved with a community of other like-minded people who are also striving for these same things? What the Acceleration Program is doing is giving people that sense of connection and community. Right now more than ever, due to quarantine and isolation, I’m seeing community being valued more than it’s ever been, at least in my lifetime.
You write about a lot of things that are so important that you say we’ve already learned some of these things and lessons but sometimes, we don’t utilize them and approach them as we should. Your book is fascinating in the work you do in your Academy also it’s so helpful especially in nowaday’s time. A lot of people are going to want to know how they can reach you and find out more. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing how they could follow you.
Thank you. I’m on most social media although I’m not active. My website is SeanRosensteel.com. My book is available anywhere. The books are sold in Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I’m running a bit of a promotion on the website. If you come to the website, I’m offering a personalized signed paperback as well as a free PDF of the book instantly and some other neat bonuses. All you have to do is pay a small fee for shipping and handling. It’s the most exciting way to get the book. It’s directly through me. The reason I did that is because I had some significant setbacks. The week of launch, I felt like I was handcuffed with a 1,000-pound weight on my ankle.
Unfortunately, when the book launched, it was still set to pre-order on Amazon, the paperback, and the hardcover. All you could buy was the Kindle version. My print-on-demand company for everything outside of Amazon, they were struggling like many of us were with COVID and they were backed up 60 days on shipping. I’m like, “I’ll take this into my own hands.” I learned how to do the book funnel thing and deliver copies directly with a fulfillment center. That way, I could offer signed copies with a personalized message. That’s been a neat experience in and of itself as well.
I hear you and I’ve been waiting on a launch for my book. I know it’s a tough time and to do this well is admirable. Congratulations on the success of your book and it was nice to have you on the show, Sean.
Thank you, Diane. This is such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
It was for me too.
I’d like to thank both Kent and Sean for being my guest. We get many great guests on the show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can find them at DrDianeHamilton.com. If you go to the blog, you can read them. You can listen to them there. You can listen to the podcast wherever you get your podcasts but sometimes it’s nice to go back, search through some of the older ones, and check out what’s on the site. I hope you enjoyed our episode and I hope you join us for the next episode.
- Revenue Growth Company
- The School Of Intentional Living
- Intentional Living Academy
- Rich Karlgaard – previous episode
- Late Bloomers
- Barnes & Noble – The School of Intentional Living
- Amazon – The School of Intentional Living
About Kent Billingsley
Over 30 years of success from start-ups to executive corporate roles and including international keynote speaking, management consulting, and executive workshops in over 30 countries on 4 continents and helping over 1000 companies and thousands of CEOs, presidents and business leaders grow their companies faster, smarter and better.
Specialties: Proven expertise in management consulting, executive development, and strategic leadership in over 70 disciplines including areas such as: business growth, leadership development, change management, strategic and tactical marketing, sales organization design and leadership, communications messaging and content, to partnership development and channel design and management, etc.
About Sean Rosensteel
With a passion for helping others, my journey began when I found myself bankrupt at the age of 28 after following conventional wisdom all my life. This eye-opening moment showed me that attaining true happiness and fulfillment means breaking free from conventional wisdom and making my own path.
Now, I hope to inspire and empower my readers, students and clients to achieve their dreams and live the life they truly deserve.
I recently published my first book, “The School of Intentional Living: A Real-World Approach to Living Life on Your Terms,” and founded The Intentional Living Academy to support my readers on a deeper level.
I currently live in the Dallas, TX area with my loving wife, Karen, and our three young children.
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