July 18th, 2023
With James Schramko, an esteemed online business mentor and entrepreneur from Noosa, Australia. With over 14 years of experience as a business coach, James has helped over 3,551 individuals create and sustain six, seven, and eight-figure businesses. Formerly a General Manager at Mercedes-Benz, James pursued his dream of time and financial freedom by venturing into online business full-time after hours of dedicated work. Now, he runs multi-million dollar coaching communities with just 15 hours a week, enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle of surfing, family time, and travel.
James’s paid communities at JamesSchramko.com are a testament to his success. In his first community, entrepreneurs thrive with a remarkable 78.5 percent of members earning over $100,000 per year. Through valuable resources and personalized coaching, James equips them with proven, leveraged strategies that boost earnings and free up time for a truly enjoyable life. His second community caters to accomplished online marketers, accelerating their growth even further. Members report astonishing multi-million dollar gains in record time, a testament to James’s expertise and transformative coaching methods.
Join us for our conversation where James shares insights on personal effectiveness, innovation in business, decision-making, problem awareness, and the impact of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship. He discusses his journey from being an employee to being a business owner and highlights the importance of staying present and adaptable. James also touches on topics such as sales, long-term business sustainability, recurring income models, and the power of the 80/20 principle.
Don’t miss out on this valuable discussion with James Schramko!
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- The benefits of being contrarian.
- The importance of re-writing the software in your “neck-top” computer.
- “If you let compromise build, it all collapses in the end.” (And the benefit of living a life of no compromise).
- The 64/4 rule (compare to the 80/20 rule).
- “You do have to commit to innovation, you do have to do research and development. But like most things, you can do it in a test space where you’re not going to destroy your core offer.”
- How James can predict the income for his business for the next 24 months.
“If you don’t understand yourself, you’ll always get unexpected things that challenge you and you may not recover from those.”-James Schramko
Check out these highlights:
- 06:46 How James became a business owner, and why he decided to leave his job.
- 17:23 What James would change about his entrepreneurial path.
- 25:32 James’ favorite topic in his book.
- 28:18 How does James help his clients get clear on how to spend their time on highest value activities?
- 37:50 Three powerful tips from James for generating more income in your business (and the importance of avoiding fads!)
- 48:55 James’ final wish for the listeners.
How to get in touch with James:
On Social Media:
You can also learn more about Jason by visiting his website here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below:
GGGB Intro 00:00
Coming up to date on Guts, Grit and Great Business®…
James Schramko 00:03
There’s only so much analysis you can do at some point you have to make a decision. And then the decision over time will reveal information and you learn something you might learn that turned out to be a good decision. You might learn that it didn’t work out for you. But at the time, there’s no point beating yourself the past self of you up saying you made a really crappy decision, people beat themselves up. Instead say, at the time I made the best decision that I could with the information available to me.
GGGB Intro 00:34
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:07
Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online information entrepreneurs throughout the US and the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am super excited about today’s conversation. Welcome to my guest, James Schramko. Welcome, James.
James Schramko 01:34
Hey, thank you for having me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:35
Yeah, super great to see you. Again. I feel like it was just I think it’s been a couple of weeks, but it feels like yesterday. So if you haven’t yet, pop over and check out James’s podcast and website we were recently introduced through a mutual friend and James, I’m a fan. So for those of you that don’t know James. James Schramko is an online business mentor from Noosa Australia. He currently owns and runs two online business coaching communities. In his 14 years as a business coach, he has helped over 3,551+ of his students create and maintain six, seven and eight-figure businesses. Before he built his coaching businesses, James was a General Manager at Mercedes-Benz. He made a six-figure income but was stressed by the demands of his job, wanting the time and financial freedom he could see their top-level clients enjoying. Putting in many hours on the internet after work, he eventually made enough to quit Mercedes-Benz and go into online business full-time. James, I just have to pause here for a second you did what, so many people I think want to do there’s somebody who tells a funny story about dreaming of how like shifting his business model to an online business model where he’s like, Yeah, I just imagined being home and fuzzy pink bunny slippers and making it all work. Did it really go that way for him but I love your story and that you made that switch.
James Schramko 03:03
You can see my slippers through that screen right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:05
I know you’re living this one bird life. It’s great. I love that you’re here to talk about it. Since then, James has grown his coaching communities into multi-million dollar businesses that fund a lifestyle he loves. Running his businesses with an input of just 15 hours a week, he finds ample time to surf, spend time with family and friends, watch movies and travel. The keys to such idyllic living are what he shares inside his two paid communities at JamesSchramko.com James’ runs a paid community of entrepreneurs, 78.5 percent of who make more than $100k per year. With the community resources and with personal coaching from James, members gain proven, leveraged ways of running their businesses that increase their earnings and free up their time, vastly improving their ability to enjoy life. In his results driven coaching group, already successful online marketers grow faster. They have that potential for further growth that James identifies and they build on that. Members of this select group report multi-million dollar gains within short periods of working with James. James, what an intro. Welcome.
James Schramko 04:17
I’m best just to be quiet here. You’ll feel almost a little bit self conscious right now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 04:24
Obviously, there’s a theme I love your focus even in your bio around enjoying life. I think that so often, we start off business intending for that to be the outcome being a struggle for so many along the way or not being quite what they thought it was going to be or taking a longer more painful route than they thought to actually get to that point of enjoying themselves.
James Schramko 04:52
It’s so true. Some people quit their job to get an even worse boss.
Heather Pearce Campbell 04:57
Right? Oh my god. I’m sure that there’s many quotes out there that say that same thing, but about yourself being your worst boss. And when I really thought of it, I was like, Oh my gosh, that is completely true, even for myself.
James Schramko 05:10
Well, I think the important thing here is, it’s like, when we switch from employee, we’re hopping out of the passenger seat, and we’re getting into the driver’s seat. So for me, the real focus was on responsibility. I’m either gonna do hot laps here, I’m gonna crash the car. But it’s up to me now, before driverless cars became a thing. And when you talk about, you know, people, they don’t know what to expect, or it’s not what they thought it would be, it’s very, very important to understand what they think it will be before they do it. Because if you’re clear on what you think it will be, and that’s pretty accurate, and you realize there’s going to be difficulties and challenges along the way. And they’ll always be things to come along and disrupt you. And you’re okay with that. In fact, some people aren’t excited about it. They’re so excited about create chaos and changing their life so they can have more to deal with understanding yourself is absolutely the key to having great business. Because if you don’t understand yourself, you’ll always get unexpected things that that challenge you and you may not recover from those.
Heather Pearce Campbell 06:13
Going back in your journey, because I always love to hear stories from around the time that they made the switch, like you obviously, were working a job, right, nothing wrong with the JOB. But if it’s not working for you, and you’re somebody who really is designed or cut out to or inspired to be an entrepreneur, and you need to do things differently, knowing how or when to make that switch, I think can be really hard.
James Schramko 06:36
It wasn’t like an on the spot thing. It was a gradual build up. I liked that quote about things happening gradually, and then suddenly. So for me, that’s how it worked. I was reading books from business people. Early on in my sales career, I was given cassette tapes that had really great teachings like Maxwell Maltz, psycho cybernetics, it had entrepreneurial heroes like Jim Rohn, etc. So I started to get a lot of that. Even when I was 12, I read a sales book by Tom Hopkins. So I was getting outside influences through books are my absolute passion after surfing, books came first, but surfing took over.
Heather Pearce Campbell 07:11
If you’re not watching the video, just in case, you’re concerned that James isn’t telling the truth pop over and check out his background behind him, which is I’m pretty sure is not one of the screen backgrounds, right? It’s a real background.
James Schramko 07:23
It’s a real background. That’s right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 07:25
It’s surrounded by books color coded, by the way, I’m so impressed.
James Schramko 07:29
Thank you, my wife will be pleased that you mentioned that. So I was getting exposed to this. And then as you mentioned, my bio, a lot of my clients at Mercedes Benz were business owners, some were employees. And that’s okay. But a lot of them are business owners. And constantly, they would try and offer me a job. They’d say, I love what you’re doing here running the dealership, do you want to come and work for me? And I kept seeing what really want to trade one job for another. And I was thinking, how could I become a business owner and the logical path when you’re at a high level, as a general manager, general, any kind of chief of operations are those sorts of roles is to ask the business, if you can have equity, this is very common. When I took my last job, I asked for that. And they said, that’s possible, just give us some time, and then we’ll work something out. It didn’t eventuate. So felt like the only way out was to leave the business. Because I’ve had this real desire to have my own business because I was on a great salary. And this was part of my challenge. Of course, all the money that I earned was spent, like almost every employee, we spend exactly the same amount that we earn or more. The problem was it was a good way. So a lot of people would say, Man, you’ve got the best job ever. You’re getting around $300,000 a year, you’ve got two Mercedes Benz company cars, your laptop and a phone. And you get a day off here or there. What’s wrong with that? And it’s…
Heather Pearce Campbell 08:48
Golden handcuffs, right?
James Schramko 08:50
It was like rising to the top of the castle and employee land. However, when I started mixing with people from other places, I started to get this sort of benchmarking happening. There’s one friend I bumped into, and we were on an aeroplane together from San Francisco to Los Angeles. In the flight, we got to chatting and he turned it out. He was making $100,000 a month with his online business. And he said, Why don’t you tell yourself? And it’s just like, kind of really hit me in the face of it to everyone else. I’m doing really well of it to him. I’m the loser. Yeah, I thought isn’t that interesting. And then when we went to this conference where there was another guy there, and he was making $100,000 a day, it was some kind of a patent interrupts that really pushed my concept in it. And from that point, I really felt like I’m undervaluing myself that if I’m able to generate so much income for my employer. And if I’ve got good skills, and I could back myself, maybe I could go out on my own. If I want to take that responsibility. The time I had four children and I had a mortgage, all the things that normal people do. So the money was coming in money was going out. So the cost of living also just for reference, it’s important amount This is very, very high in Sydney. I say this because I’ve now discovered that you could buy a whole house in America for like less than $100,000. In Australia house is a million dollars. So we’re talking real extreme. So what sounds like a lot of money doesn’t end up being a lot of money after you pay all your expenses. So I started teaching myself how to build a website, because I thought building a website was my pathway to the internet. And I’d observed these things happening in my family had a travel agency, and now people weren’t coming in. And they were starting to book online. And I noticed that customers would come in, and instead of us telling them what models are coming next, they were telling us because it was all online. And like this internet thing, this isn’t a thing This was around early 2000s. 2005, is when I got my first domain, there’s a whole story around how I got a domain. But I needed to get my domain on the internet. So I needed to figure out how to buy a website, how to make a website, and I didn’t want to buy a website, because websites were $20,000 $15,000. It’s very different to now there’s no Wix, you can’t just pop a website up today, there’s no Facebook pages, I don’t think there was maybe even just wasn’t even Facebook back then was so relatively speaking compared to now, record this in 2022. That was quite a long time ago. And I struggled so much just building a website that’s kind of stopped me and it was unbelievably difficult. I don’t get it. Unlike my high performer and in work, I’m not stupid. It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult. But I’m not a coder or technical person either. So just I got stuck, I was putting in hours every night, like I drag the cable, plug it into the dial up with the laptop on my lap, I didn’t even have a computer until 2005. But the last computer I had at home was like 1995. So I had to start from scratch. And what I discovered sort of by accident, in my journey of trying to figure out how to get a website online, I realized that a lot of other people would have the same struggle, the first thing that created that pathway for me was becoming an affiliate of the software that I managed to get working and to go and find other people just like so I solve my own problem. And then I solved it for other people. And I started building up my affiliate income at first it was very slow, like $150 a month, then $500 and then 750, and then 1000, and then 2000. And then two and a half 1000, I got up to about $5,000 a month and I kind of got stuck there. And then I was able to jump it to 10,000 a month I had an innovation that doubled that, but I was still not quite anywhere near my income. So I couldn’t quit. So I needed to take it to the next step. That’s what I had another innovation and I was able to double it again. And then I was able to double it again. So I just kept stacking on innovations. And then I got to my trigger. And I set a trigger. And the trigger was if I can match my salary with my online business, I’ll quit my job. And in July 2008, I handed back the keys to my car. And I said thanks very much for the awesome job. It’s been great. I’m gonna do my own thing now. And they’re like, what is it that you’re doing? Again, they didn’t really quite understand it. And it was pretty hard to explain back then affiliate marketing isn’t really something people know, normal people anyway. Yeah. And that was it. From then on. It was freedom. But I’ve had a very, very hard in the first few years I just did I wanted to really protect myself from ever having to go back into the dealership.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:33
Well, it’s yeah, you really built yourself a bridge right in the background. I think some people don’t have that bridge when they make the leap.
James Schramko 13:42
They say let’s jump off a cliff and build the plane while we’re falling. That was not an option for me. And I would say it’s not really an option for many people. And I wouldn’t recommend that the metaphor I like is Tarzan and the jungle. I was on my vine swinging. And I don’t let go of that vine until I grab onto another vine. I’m comfortable with my grip.
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:01
Yeah. Well, especially in the case where you were in or so many people are that have obligations, right that have real life stuff to support. I’m curious, I love this story of the guy that intersected your path and it was like you’re under cutting you’re underselling yourself, whatever the phrase he used, like, Do you ever wonder what would happened if you hadn’t had that conversation? It sounds like that was a lightbulb moment for you.
James Schramko 14:27
I don’t spend too much time wondering about what would have happened. There’s too many options. There’s just too many variables. And I don’t spend any time having regrets either. And I think it comes from Adlerian philosophy. It might even be in a book called The courage to be disliked, but it’s basically everything that happened had to happen. And the proof is it did happen. And that really helps me be settled. Like I everything that happened happened in that philosophy is that the past is gone. The only way it stays current is if you hold it in your imagination so you can let go of it. So in a way it’s Like your imagination can let go of the old vine and grab a new vine. So don’t beat myself up about what would or wouldn’t have happened. It happened.
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:08
More along the lines of recognizing those moments that were, oh, my gosh, I have the opportunity to see this in a totally different way. Right?
James Schramko 15:16
Well, what I do is I always look at things in hindsight, for the power of decision making. So Peter Drucker talked about this, a lot of people deliberate over how to make a decision. And they worry about should I do this? Should I do that? What if I do this, what if I do that, and there’s only so much analysis you can do at some point, you have to make a decision. And then the decision over time will reveal information and you learn something you might learn that turned out to be a good decision, you might learn that it didn’t work out for you. But at the time, there’s no point beating yourself the past self of you up saying you made a really crappy decision, people beat themselves up, instead, say, at the time, I made the best decision that I could with the information available to me. And it was a hypothesis at best. And it didn’t work out. But I’ve learned from that, that if I was in the same situation today, I would now recognize this, that or the other, that would change the way I would make that same decision today. Because I have new information. And I’ve learned something. If you take a positive approach like that, it really helps you make decisions, and then retrospectively learn something from it to apply in the future. So I think of it more as my past self, my current self and my future self, what I’m doing now is trying to make good decisions for future Jas, the future version of me, hopefully looks back and says, That was a good idea. Well done. We learned something from that you made a good hypothesis, and it paid out.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:49
I love that, presumably, especially now in your role as basically a business coach, right? You’re helping people do the same thing for themselves. Looking through that lens, as you look back for him or James, knowing what you know, now, if you could and understanding that you’ve accepted all the decisions that you’ve made, though, when you’re coaching other people, what would you do differently about that path? Or help somebody else walk that path differently, right? Or is there anything about your entrepreneurial path that you would change?
James Schramko 17:23
Well, I wouldn’t change a thing, obviously, because if I change anything, the fabric of time would change everything, maybe I wouldn’t be a surfer now, or wouldn’t have had a beautiful daughter or the lady that I’ve married. So all had to be the way it was. So I don’t spend any energy thinking about that. What I do when I’m helping somebody is the same as what I did when I was selling, it’s not about me, it’s about stepping into their shoes and understanding their situation, and understanding their problems and challenges, and what they want. And then I use all of the information that I have stored up through all past choices and learnings. And everything I’ve observed from all the other people I’ve helped, and I give them the best hypothesis I can possibly conjure. And then it’s up to them if they want to move forward on that, because they’re still they’re in the driver’s seat of their own life. I’m just the navigator saying we’re about to come to a T intersection. And based on my map, it’ll be a good idea to turn right. But if they want to go straight ahead or turn left, that’s on them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:25
Yeah, absolutely. I love your detachment from that, right? And even your detachment from your own decision making in the past, I think it’s super easy for entrepreneurs and people who are walking any kind of path that involves growth, development, self development, which I think entrepreneurship is one super easy to beat ourselves up for not doing things a different way or getting there faster, right? How many times do you hear people wishing that they were farther along their journey and their business building journey in particular? I know you came out with a book, you sent me a copy. And it has its own map, right? It sounds like it’s got its own kind of keys inside that you address different topics that you address, both in the book and I would imagine inside of your coaching as well. Do you want to walk us through a few just a couple of those, like, especially your favorite ones. I know that it starts with personal effectiveness, chapter one, which I think is a big one, you want to tell us a little bit about how you boiled your book down to those nine topics, and then share with us on some of the favorites.
James Schramko 19:33
I didn’t want to write a sales pamphlet to sell something else. That’s one way a lot of people in our industry use books. I didn’t want a sales pamphlet. I wanted a proper book that would stand the test of time that I’d be proud of. So some people would call that an ego book.
Heather Pearce Campbell 19:48
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James Schramko 21:39
I’m okay with that I wanted to capture and distill what I’ve learned. And part of the process was I got the help of someone else. And this will be fun, because we’re talking about decision making. Initially I asked someone who knew and he had a friend who had worked for a big publisher. And that just left her job. And I paid that person, I think it was $10,000 at the time to go through my stuff into a simulated into audit, because I would put my hand up and say I’m not a great writer. And I’ve also don’t have a lot of tolerance for small, detailed work. I studied as an accountant and I hated it. I’d rather paint with broad brushstrokes. So I don’t want to get in the nitty gritty, if possible. I can you know, I’m a salesperson who can do paperwork, but I don’t love it. So I tend to steer away from it. So by went down that pathway, she got really stuck into it. And then she had a lot of mindset challenges around imposter syndrome. And then she built up this big guilt around the delay and the delay got worse and then worse. And then they went on for years. And by the time she came back to me with a manuscript, I think was about four years, and it was out of date, and I’ve moved on. So I just wrote it off. Because I’m good at getting rid of sunk cost. I went, I found somebody else. And this person was called Kelly exited the new person. And she got access to all my membership. She spoke to my customers, she read through all the trainings, I’m prolific with information. Our challenge was not trying to come up with some stuff. It was like how do we chisel this huge block of marble into a statue of David, that someone else’s quote, what she came up with was this structure in this order. So I don’t take any credit for that whatsoever. And she also titled it as well. She said, You know, when I think about what you’re doing here, I really feel like you’re helping people work less than make more. And that’s how it came about. All of the information is from my own transcripts, she would send me a question. And I would answer it. So she basically took it all and organized it she curated it mapped it out. It’s my content. She didn’t write the content with her own thoughts right there, my thoughts organized by her and structured. And then I meticulously went through, read the manuscript, put lines through it, etc. Went through the digital version and rewrote anything that to make it all about me, in some cases, reversing meanings or stripping out things. Because there’s, there’s things that I’m particularly careful about the words you use to communicate. It ended up being my style. It’s the book that I would have written if I was a good writer. But it was organized and managed. And then when I read the book as the audio book, it’s like, yeah, this is totally my voice. And so I stand by the book and in time, it’s actually proven the test of time. It’s still a good book today, which I’m pleased about. And I’ve been sitting on the next two books for at least a year or two, waiting for them to get matured and just right, I’m not in no hurry. And I really want to highlight that point. You mentioned about speed. I scrapped my entire brand law this year actually, which was called Superfast Business. And when I started online speed was the focus and everyone like you can choose good quality you can choose fast you can didn’t choose good price, right, and you can pick two. And I for a while I’m not the cheapest, and I want to be a race to the bottom, I learned that from Mercedes Benz, we’re not selling cheap shit. And the second thing is obviously going to be good. And I’m going to be fast. But these days, with the work that I’m doing, I realized that some people in their desire to be so fast, they’re making a lot of noise, but not getting a lot of signal. They’re doing a lot of stuff, but doing nothing that great. So I take my time with things like that want to do a lot more research, you want to do a lot more editing, these are the areas that people generally miss. They’re mostly just doing the middle bit the doing. So research, should you even do it at all. So if you ask me my favorite topic in the book, I reckon it’s chapter three, which is focused on the power of 64. Four, because when I was reading about the 8020 principle, and we’ve probably read it in the four hour, maybe found the master book by Richard costs, you know, the 8020 principle, I realized that it can be applied to itself, they call that being fractal, that 8020 can be at 20. And if you add 20, the 20 of the 8020, you end up with four, if you add the ad U and that was 64. What it means in very simple terms, is that I became aware that about two thirds of the results we get come from around 4% of our inputs. This is very liberating when you understand it, because it means we’re so worried about all this stuff. But most of this stuff, the bulk is stuff does not matter. You could literally stop doing a whole bunch of stuff. And not only get the same result, but you may even get a better result. Because any stuff you’re doing that takes you away from the really, really important stuff is actually costing you. So for example, if you’re a lawyer, and you spent 6000 A day lawyering, if for five of those hours, you’re rearranging the coffee cups in the tea room. And for one of the hours, you’re doing super high power work in the courtroom, that’s where you get all your money, but you don’t get paid for those five hours of rearranging teacups for that time. But some activities are just far more important tied to the actual result that you’re getting than others. So identifying those is very important. It’s a power move. It’s a leverage thing that once you understand and more importantly, once you teach to your team, then that’s going to change your life. And I say that very deliberately, because some people listening will not have a team yet. So you leverage is limited just to your own capacity. But you can buy time, this is really important. You can go and buy other people’s time, they will sell you their time. And I’ll put it on a payment plan called a wage, right? So you can go and buy people’s time to do things that gets you off the hook for having to do it all, all together. And if you’re buying people to do the things, that sort of commoditize things, then you can only ever work on the really high value stuff, then your life really transforms.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:03
How do you help your clients get so crystal clear on what is the highest value, right? Because when you’re talking about 4% of everything that they’re doing some very, very slim amount of really, in total, what we do.
James Schramko 28:18
Obviously, like patterns of what people spend their time on that they should never do. So a lot of people who have a podcast would edit their own podcast, which is insanity. A lot of people do their own bookkeeping. A lot of people send their own emails, a lot of people muck around with their website. And I’ve made all these mistakes along the way. But every time I’ve done one of these tasks, I used to do my own bookkeeping. I used to build my own website. I used to write my own articles, I used to do my own support. I used to send my own emails, I used to edit my own podcasts. Soon as I got rid of all of those things. My time freed up, I work the least I’ve ever worked now, and I make the most I’ve ever made. So I’m tired of constantly refining this and proving the point.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:00
I’m curious what you find and walking other people through this path is the hardest point starting are there multiple points along the journey, right of outsourcing, trying to create that leverage that you see being particularly sticky for people?
James Schramko 29:17
Well, for some people, this would be the first time I’ve ever heard this concept. So there’s like they’re not even problem aware. So in marketing, we’d say they’re not problem aware. They’re just going about doing life. And most people do life in a way that’s not great. For example, like just general things. There’s like an average debt for the population, like most people have a credit card debt. Most people think you go to school, go to university, you get a job, you buy a house, you pay off the car, and that’s how they live. They watch reality TV at night. They drink alcohol, they eat rubbish and they go to sleep and then repeat it the next day. They’re just living in a trance. Basically, once you wake up from that coma, you can actually start living get off The grid in that way. So I’ve challenged almost all of those things. You don’t have to go through university. You don’t need to hawk yourself into the eyeballs in bad debt. You don’t have to eat rubbish. You don’t have to numb your brain with stuff while there’s other things you could be doing. So get off the system and start doing things. Alternatively, there’s no question I live a contrarian life to most people. But most people aren’t happy. If you can take polls or surveys, they’re just they’re like you the government, oh, it’s the recession. Oh, the price of food, oh, gas is so expensive, like just constant whinging that you don’t have to participate in that part of society. If you don’t want, you can live in a surplus, you can do work, you actually enjoy that you do need to think differently. So it’s about rewriting the software in our neck top computer. So Professor Gleason talks about neck top computers, it’s a great metaphor, we, we’ve got the hardware, make sure your hardware is up to date and keeping put good food into it, etc. That’s why personal effectiveness is important.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:04
Revisit chapter one, right sounds like your sleep chapter one, stop, yeah.
James Schramko 31:09
Turn off all the social notifications that are just sucking the bandwidth. And then rewrite the software in your neck top computer, install better software, be aware of the 64-4, have that desire to find people to help you out with the tasks. Of course, to do that, you need to know what you actually spend your time on. So generally, it’s a good idea to do inventory of where you spend your time. If you do that for a little while, it’s very easy to pull it apart. So I would in terms of how I help people with it, I’d say so Heather, tell me about this activity you’ve listed here what happens then? Right, and then we just go through and we’d question them, and see if they’re tied to our highest activity, I would want to know what people are selling, and of what they’re selling, which are the best things they sell, and which things never sell, which things are the most profitable or not profitable, which things do they enjoy or not, or do not enjoy. And then once we’ve found that highest value offer, and then we look at how we might package it better, then we can start stripping away everything else. So constantly, that people would come to me and just overly complicated, they’ve got all these products for sale, they got different levels of stuff, it’s very confusing. And we delete most of it. And suddenly they have a breath of fresh air, they’ve got like one or two things to focus on, and they actually love it. And they can let go of the stress and the pressure of trying to do everything, you cannot do everything. Especially if you have an online business, because your business is always open. There’s an unlimited number of things you could do. So having a filter to eliminate almost all of it is very relaxing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:43
When you sorted this out for your own path, right? Did you find some of the stuff that you have just walked us through? And even more challenging than others? What did you find in your own journey around implementing this stuff?
James Schramko 32:56
Getting off seven day a week work was challenging. Again, society will tell us that hard work is good that we have to have a work ethic that we’ve got to work hard to make money, it’s all bullshit. And if you believe it, if you sell your time for money, and you don’t sell it for enough, then you’re just going to be sort of stuck at level one, like you never progress from that. So again, if you’ve said to someone, okay, I’m going to sell you my time, and I’ll give you 40 hours a week, forever, then that’s 40 hours a week out of your inventory of available hours gone, there’s not much left for you to find the leverage, there’s not that much leverage in it. Now, it’s okay to be an employee. And I certainly was for a long time. There’s lots of other benefits of being an employee you get to learn, you get a low risk environment, you can switch it off when you go home, maybe, but less than less. So these days, they might cover some benefits, especially in North America, they might cover health benefits, etc. So there’s a lot of little things that would hold someone into a job. If you’re going to be an employer, though, you want to make sure you’re an employer of choice, because we’re in the age now, especially because of pandemic, people are aware that they have options, and that they can do it. I think when COVID came, it actually opened the eyes of a lot of people to my world that I already been living for more than 10 years beforehand. And no one else really understood that you can operate from wherever you want. You can work with whoever you want, in whatever product you want. You don’t even have to be the expert. For example, in the United States, a lot of the people who are in medical practices medical, they’re just business owners who buy the land and get a business going and then hiring doctors, right. The business owner is making all the money and the doctors are still grinding out their hours.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:42
Yeah. Well, it’s so interesting what you raise even about COVID. My first question is, do you think it will change the landscape when it comes to entrepreneurship? But I have another question. First, going back to your days of figuring out the software generally getting affiliate revenue. Do you think that particular piece? Had you really focused in at the start of your journey around this concept of creating leverage creating recurring revenue? Like do you think there was some exposure there that influenced the way that you even approach the start of your business?
James Schramko 35:19
Yeah, because when I was selling the software, it was one piece of software for one commission. That’s what we call onesies. In fact, the software was $198. And I got $49.25 per sale. So if I sold 10, I’d make less than $500. And so I needed to sell more and more. And then each month, I’d start again, just like when I was selling cars, would start the month from scratch. But I figured out a way to fix that when I was selling cars. And I started selling cars that weren’t built yet, cars that were coming, I’d find out what’s coming. And then I’d go to my customers and say, Guess what’s coming next year? Would you like to place a deposit in order to pre order, because when it comes, you won’t be able to get it. And also, when it comes because people can’t get it, they’ll probably pay more than the retail value. So I had, I’ll go into a month with half my month covered.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:11
Yeah, you’re describing current market conditions for new cars?
James Schramko 36:15
That’s correct. And I was doing that back in 1997 1999. So I was decades ahead of my time with that. I was the only salesperson doing that. But I was also the number one salesperson in the whole of Australia. Go figure. So anyway, I’ve applied the same principles. When I’m selling these one time things. I’m like, How can I get a bank of sales coming down the track. So I was a member of a few communities, and I was paying them each month. And I thought, You know what, I really need to start promoting things that pay recurring. So I found email software, I found communities memberships, and I’d stop promoting those to my customers that already had and had looked after and thereby needs and then I started to get this sort of rent roll coming in. didn’t take that long. It was only about six months later, in the beginning of 2009, I started my own recurring membership. And I still have that recurring membership, to this stage, basically produced hundreds of 1000s of dollars every single year since 2009. Without missing a beat, every single person I’ve ever helped or coached or mentored, I have the most consistent business of anybody because I knew to build in recurring income, I can predict the income for my business for the next 24 months. Because I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of clients who I continue to look after and serviced at a high level who want to be around, they tell me they say I will be a member of your program as long as your program exists, which is cool. There’s lots of things to unpack there. But really, we’re talking about chapter eight, which is choosing the right business model. So there’s a couple of quick things that I would suggest for anybody who’s listening to this podcast, look for recurring income if possible. And it’s available in many businesses that you wouldn’t even think it is for even a florist. They could say, Heather, would you spend $100 a month and we’ll just bring a beautiful fresh arrangement around your house every two weeks, whatever. The other thing to do is to look for higher price points across the board, that almost everyone I’ve ever work with. When we find a higher priced item, there’s usually more profit involved and also more enjoyment. It’s just more fun dealing with first class or business class than economy class. The third thing would be to try and find something you could do for quite some time, you know, without burning out or avoiding fads, not just getting excited about this fantastic business model that someone’s pitching that everyone else is doing all at exactly the same time. And then a year later, nobody’s even thinking about they come along all the time.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:50
I’m gonna say particularly in the online digital space, right, I bet you’ve seen your share of fads since then.
James Schramko 38:58
Oh, my God. I mean, since I’ve been online, it’s they’ve come and gone like a revolving door. But here’s the really telling part. Since 2009, I’ve run a recurring subscription coaching membership. Since 2009. I’ve run a podcast since 2009. I run live events every year, except for 2021. The only, so there’s things I’ve done consistently the whole time. So there are core things that you can sustain. I like this idea. So I would switch out growth, growth is important. And it’s obviously required for business to survive. But what a lot of the entrepreneurial types should do, because they’re quite visionary because they tend to get excited about stuff like popcorn in a pan. We need to say what can we do for a long time and still be happy about? And so I will project the timeframe for people when they’re thinking about an idea I might say will you be happy doing this in two or three years from now or five years from now? Does it stand the test of time? Is this market shrinking like the video market? or is it growing? Like streaming videos? For example, short streaming videos are hot right now. They’re gonna continue to be hot. I can’t sit going back.
Heather Pearce Campbell 40:10
Yeah, I love the perspective that you bring, because I think it is really easy for somebody to make a decision. And I think the other thing that we’re told, especially as entrepreneurs is to experiment, right to try something and run it as an experiment, which I think is important, but also, this lens on longevity, and something that’s sustainable, and that you can show up to every day, I think, is really key to building a business that stands the test of time and that you enjoy being in.
James Schramko 40:43
Well, I’m migrating my community right now. Okay, as we record this, we’re tipping hundreds of members across into a new version of what I offer. So you do have to innovate, current platform that we’re coming from, I’ve kept consistent for about seven or eight years, but it’s now at the end of its life, it has to change. You do have to commit to innovation, you do have to do research and development. But like most things, you can do it in a test space where you’re not going to destroy your core offer. So what I did is bring across my hyper users and people whose opinion I care about to come and test it before the rest of us came, they like sending up the search party, saying, Here’s what I’ve made. Can you try it and tell me what you think? And we back and forth a bit. And then a week later, I’m like, is this something it feels like is going to do everything we need to do their like their usability is lightyears ahead of where we’re at? There’s no red flags. And so right, okay, let’s do this. And so you can do things safely, especially on the line, you can test things. This way. It’s funny with the lawyer because you have to be careful testing prices. And staff, people could be upset if one person buys one price, and another person sees another price and with split testing, and so forth, from what I understand. It’s gonna be careful. There’s lots of gotchas. However, you can do pilot programs and try stuff. But go back to Tarzan. I’ll get a good firm hand on that next fine before I risk letting go and I calculate the risk. If I move from one platform to another, and if I want to switch billing, the risk is I might lose 100% of my customers. And then I have to offset that with What are my chances that people won’t, or that they’ll really love the new one and stay extra long? Can I stage it in batches and try 10 at a time and see if if it works before I go and expose hundreds of the members to it. There’s lots of things you can do to reduce down your risk.
Heather Pearce Campbell 42:36
I love that that’s such a great example. And especially as you think about you mentioning platforms, I think technology is a big challenge for people even now, with so many options, it still remains at least I see it with the clients that I work with a significant challenge when it comes to decision making growth, even launching something right. So I love your perspective on being able to test that and having ways to do it successfully so that it doesn’t you minimize those potential hiccups?
James Schramko 43:08
Well, it’s also easy for me because I have so many people using different tools. Yes, I know what my clients use, and I know what they like about it and what they don’t like. And I’ve got whole batches of clients using the same tool sets. And I actually network them together on them. So that’s been a real advantage for me is to almost no risk trying a platform because I know that there’s so many people happy with it and how they’re using it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:35
Yeah, what’s your very favorite part about what you do?
James Schramko 43:39
Like sometimes you have to pinch yourself and think, Well, this really wouldn’t have been possible without the technology that’s around now. So the very favorite part is that it is so leverage, I mean, contrasting to the job I had. That was really hard work in very stressful and traumatic. And I drive off from my family in the morning, my suit and go to battle, and then I’d come back exhausted and stressed and just make meeting the bills. So now we’re absolutely amazing life. And so I don’t really share a lot of that I don’t social much of it at all. I don’t show people my house and I don’t post pictures of nice things. Because that’s sort of an internal thing. My self talk is, you’ve done okay, good on you. And I feel that sort of sense of security and stability and knowing that I’m going to be okay. I don’t I don’t see myself living on the streets or anything which you know, for a lot of my early life was always a concern. Like, what if I lose everything you know, and a lot of that trauma came from my parents having a financial setback. And us going from being pretty old a thought when I grew up, I thought we were fairly rich, and then we weren’t rich. So it was very humbling. I was probably about 17 right 18 And my parents had a big financial hit. And I had to go from study to having a job in debt collection. Now this from that point on, and then I started having kids. So it was really my entire working career was very, very stressful. And I’m just happy to have a life with less drama. I don’t do drama, I don’t work with people that cause drama. I don’t have any team members that cause drama. I don’t put myself in situations where there’s an excess of drama. And so that’s really kind of chapter nine, no compromise. That’s the thing that I’m most happy with that I live a life of no compromise now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:41
Yeah, with a place of arrival to be able to say that, I think, I think a lot of people, if not the vast majority of people feel like they have to compromise, right?
James Schramko 45:51
And you know, when it became clear to me ever, was one year ago from now, when our whole country was lockdown. And I purchased a house here, this house that I’m in now, which is in another state to where I used to live. And I wasn’t able to hop in my car and drive to it. I was only allowed to go to the airport and catch a plane to the state, and then be frogmarched by the police into a bus and shunted into a one bedroom, studio, hotel room with no opening window for 14 days fed rubbish food. And I had a three year old or two year old at the time, who electrocuted itself. And outside the door is a policeman who if you open that door, you will be arrested. And that is when I realized how much I value my freedom and how good my life is. And I feel like a lot of people are living their life in that quarantine style environment, but they just don’t even recognize it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:55
Yeah, oh, it’s so true. And I think having an experience like that, you get to see how far you’ve come. And it’s, it looks a little bit like boiling a frog, right? You drop a frog into hot water. And it’s like really obvious, but people just acclimate over time to things that they make, right normally, it’s like the compounding pressure. And they might normally have said, Oh, that’s really uncomfortable. But when it slowly builds, it can be hard to recognize when it’s all around us.
James Schramko 47:23
Because they’re not lucid, they’re not aware. They’re not getting enough sleep. You’re not eating good food. They’re not thinking about it. And so that’s a compromise. Yeah, if you let compromise build, it collapses in the end. So yes, I was immediately resistant to all of the controls that started being put in place, being told to do this into scan that and to be here and not there. And that was extremely confronting to me, because I’d been out in the wild for for so long, like 12 years of freedom. So you go seek a free range back in a cage. They’re not gonna like it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:00
Like a feral cat, right?
James Schramko 48:02
Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m feral. That’s crazy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:07
Totally. No, I just thinking of the spirit. Yes, totally free spirited. James, for folks that want to get to know more about your work that are curious about your memberships. And you know, your membership programs and your coaching. Where do you like to send folks?
James Schramko 48:25
I’m pretty much James Schramko. Anyway, you know, if you’re on Instagram, or LinkedIn, or YouTube or Facebook, just jamesschramko.com.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:35
Yep. And if you’re listening, James Schramko is spelled with an S-C-H-R-A-M-K-O. James, you’ve covered some great like, we really hit some highlights. I’m excited to dig into your book. If there is a final point that you would like to leave our listeners with today. What would it be?
James Schramko 48:55
I’d say my wish would be as a result of being here and listening to this podcast, that you would make an honest assessment about, you know, how do you score? On some of the things we talked about? Do you feel like you’ve got compromise? Do you feel like you’re living your absolute best life? without restriction? Do you feel like you’ve got the best business model? You feel like you’re spending your time in the right areas, and it’d be great if you made one action step for yourself. That’s what I encourage the people I’m having like one thing per week, write it up on a whiteboard or a post it note, and then go and do that you’ll feel really good about making that change. And by all means, come back and let us know what you did. Or if there was some impact. That’d be really amazing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:40
Totally Well, I think often it just starts with a willingness to look right. I think some people are afraid to really take an honest look at circumstances. So I appreciate you. I really appreciate your approach of no compromise and having very clear boundaries in your life. It’s super important that we be reminded of this as a possibility on a regular basis. So, thanks so much for joining me today, James. It’s been great.
James Schramko 50:08
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
GGGB Outro 50:11
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.