“Go early and ugly,” is just one of the many gems that Kristen’s guest, Graham Cochrane, shares in this week’s conversation. He was once a struggling artist who started a side hustle to support his dream (and family) that he grew into multiple multi-million dollar businesses: by going early and ugly. Listen in as Kristen and Graham dive into this concept and discuss so many other nuggets including:
- How to build a business that serves your life and not the other way around and
- Ask yourself what are people already asking me to help them with (in real life and online)?
- The most important asset you should be cultivating when you start a business
- The fastest way to monetize your idea when you’re first starting out
- Why you should make a list of ‘what would be nice’ about your life when you run your business. Even if not everything on the list is attainable now, you’ll know what you’re working towards.
- How to get paid to do research on what your ideal customer wants and needs
- Why a number in your bank account will never be able to make you feel safe and secure
Don’t miss this lively and strategy packed interview. You CAN build the business without sacrificing your family and your health.
To find out more about all things Graham Cochrane you can head to his website: https://www.grahamcochrane.com/
To get the first few chapters of his book, “How to Get Paid for What You Know” for FREE go here: https://www.grahamcochrane.com/chapters
Don’t miss out on the in-person social selling event of the year! Announcing the Rising Leader Summit, April 14-15, 2023, in Denver, CO. The LIVE EVENT that has historically been exclusive to 6-7 figure earners is now AVAILABLE to anyone who is hungry and willing and desires to step into higher levels of leadership. Go to kristenboss.com/rise to register today.
Thanks for listening! Do you have a question about network marketing? Kristen can help! Drop your question here, and she just might answer it live on the podcast: https:/Kristenboss.com/question
Connect with Kristen:
If you’re ready to learn the simple process of running your social selling business online, you have to check out Kristen’s live group coaching program! The Social Selling Academy: www.thesocialsellingacademy.com
Transcript for Episode #154 Building a Life You Love with Graham Cochrane:
Kristen Boss (00:01): Hey bosses. Welcome to another episode of the show. I’m here with my friend, my new friend Graham Cochrane, and he is here to talk about something that I think is going to be very valuable for you all because you know how much I value sustainability building a life you love the holistic view of entrepreneurship. And lately I’ve been bringing on guests that I feel would kind of bring a different point of view from their journey in entrepreneurship that still hold the same values that we talk about so much in the show. So Graham, I’m so glad you’re here to have this conversation with me. It’s going to be fun.
Graham Cochrane (00:34): Yeah man, I’ve been excited about this. It’s been fun to get to know you a little bit more. We’re in a mastermind together and you made me laugh a lot when we were in Arizona. Even you weren’t talking to me directly, but you would say things in the group and I’d be like, I like her sense of humor. I like her approach to life. And then I love your show. I love your ethos. So I’m all about it. I’m here for it.
Kristen Boss (00:54): Aw. Well I’m so glad that mastermind has just been such a blessing. I’m always talking to my audience about get into rooms where people challenge you, elevate you. And I have told my husband this has been my favorite investment to date for groups to be in. It’s, there’s nothing like it.
Graham Cochrane (01:12): Yeah. Really good people. Not just learning good stuff, but just being around good people. Yeah.
Kristen Boss (01:17): And I feel like there’s been a shortage of that and circles I’ve been in. So it’s just so fun. I’ve been having, I had Robin on last week and I’m going to have more people coming on. I’m like, man, my audience is getting spoiled with good people, good talented people. So if my people don’t know you give a little bit of your backstory into how you got to where you are today.
Graham Cochrane (01:38): Yeah. My dream was to be a rockstar. I wanted to be touring the world and beef just famous and rich and do be able to do music. That’s all I wanted to do. I just wasn’t a day job kind of guy. I pursued that dream pretty hard in high school and college thought I was going to get signed, didn’t really get offer any real deals. They were kind of like development deals, which meant we had signed you, but we won’t pay you until you’ve proven that you can sell a lot of records on your own and then we’ll throw money at you. And you met my wife, Shay. We met really early and we were young and newly engaged at age 21, 22. So I was like, I’m, I’m going to be a husband soon, so I have to make money at this. So if this can’t make me money, I can’t really go hard after this dream anymore.
Graham Cochrane (02:28): It was okay when I was single, but I can’t now. So I had to abandon the dream, worked in corporate America for a few years, hated that. And then the great recession happened and we moved a thousand miles away from home to help start a church with some friends. We had our first baby, bought our first house and then I lost my second job in 10 months. And so that’s where we were when I was trying to figure out how can I take care of my family, what else can I do? Cause I don’t want to go back to an office. I know that’s not what I meant for what can I do to take care of my family? And that’s what got me into creating some content online. I thought I was going to actually try to get some leads for a freelance business I was doing, which was recording bands and producing music for bands.
Graham Cochrane (03:12): That was a background I had as a musician. I learned on audio engineering in college. And so I did that on the side for fun. And I thought, well maybe it’s saying go all in on this and go. So I started a blog and a YouTube channel in 2009 thinking it would generate leads for my service-based business. And what ended up happening is it became a content-based business. You understand selling courses, memberships, communities and that was, that’s that business still exists. It’s called the recording revolution. And the last five years I’ve been running my personal brand teaching online business. So it’s just been kind of a wild ride where I stumbled into entrepreneurship and had to find a way to make it work. And it was scary because there, back then there wasn’t anyone really talking about it or if they were, I didn’t know who they were. I didn’t have your podcast.
Kristen Boss (03:58): Yeah, I was going to say you were in the pioneer movement and I think this conversation is very timely because when you mentioned that this was the pivot you made in 2008, if for our maybe younger listeners, if they’re like, there was a great recession in 2008, it hit the millennials really, really hard. We were young kids just out of college that demographic really. And for me, I was a hair stylist at the time working in a salon and it was very, very cush at the time. And suddenly the income dropped by more than half overnight. It was very scary. And I had to make my own pivot to where I’m like, oh, I’ll just bring the hair to people. And so I just think it’s timely. We’re in another recession right now. It’s not nearly as bad as 2008, but it’s not great. It is not good.
Kristen Boss (04:40): And so I think a lot of people probably have fears about going all in on themselves, all in on the business. And I really value that you’re, everything was really hard when I was starting out. And it was the same for me. For us it was like everything was very tight, falling apart. I remember when we were starting out or when I was starting out, my entrepreneur thing, our water heater, our dryer and our furnace all went out in the same week. And I was like, of course. Is this a sign? What is this? I’m trying to go for big things and what is this? So this idea, you have your book How to Get Paid For What, and I love that because I’m always telling people especially in my audience right now, we are a very brand forward, content heavy online space right now. So we have an audience full of content consumers. So you have to get really good at being a content producer yourself, whether no matter what you’re selling now, if you want to stand out online, you have to be somebody who generates content. And this idea of how to get paid for what, I think a lot of people could have potentially drama around that. Well, what do I know that I could get paid for? Do you find people have that story a lot?
Graham Cochrane (06:00): Everyone thinks they’re unique too. Oh, I’m the one person Graham that doesn’t know. I’m like, no, you’re just like everybody else. You’re not a special snowflake. But that’s real, right? Because they have a name for it. They call it imposter syndrome. They’ve done interesting studies on this where they’ve studied professionals like lawyers, doctors marketing executives, and they’ve anonymously studied them in 70 to 80% of them don’t feel like an expert. They feel like an imposter, which is very, these are high six-figure earners. They are literally experts in their field and they don’t feel like an expert. So it just kind of shows us that none of us quite feel like we’re an expert. And so I don’t like that language, especially when it comes to knowledge. So it’s less about, am I qualified? Do I have enough expertise? We’re really in a cool time where they call it knowledge commerce.
Graham Cochrane (06:52): In some places it’s the knowledge economy is, and I think maybe I started 14 years ago, but I still think we’re at the front of a 30 to 40 year wave where it’s a new way of people are learning and what we’re looking for online. And when you get online right now, you want to learn anything. If I want to learn how to do hair, there’s probably someone who has your experience, who’s sharing on YouTube or has, I mean, that’ll probably the best platform for hairs. You want to see it podcast, YouTube blog posts, just sharing what they know. That’s all I’ve been doing for 14 years is sharing what I know. And so the question is, can you help somebody around an area, done some stuff around you probably are helping people in the real world. Your friends text you, what’s the thing your friends text you about?
Graham Cochrane (07:36): Can you help me with this? What do you think about this? That’s all you’re doing. But online, just with more friends that are those people that you’re maybe just a few steps ahead of, that’s all you have to be to start to build an audience, to build a following and to build trust to the point where you could actually monetize your knowledge. People try to jump to the monetization part really quick, but it’s really audience building first and always monetization comes later, but it’s not as hard as you think. No one’s looking for degrees or letters at the end of your name. They’re just looking for, can you help me? Can you get me results? And do I like the way you explain things? And they may not like the way you explain things, but someone else will. And that’s the beauty of doing it online.
Kristen Boss (08:17): Oh, I just want to echo on that too. This idea of they may not the way you explain things, but somebody else will. Because I remember some of my drama when I decided to enter into the market with my knowledge was I thought, well, there’s all these, and I could think of 10 other names, big names that had big audiences where I’m like, they’re already teaching this. What room do I have in this? But then I realized I’m bringing my own unique spin and people are going to like how I spin it, how I talk about it. And it was a hundred percent true. And I really thought about, well, instead of that person has kind of monopolized this space, I just thought, how do I differentiate myself in this space? What’s my position? What’s my spin? And sometimes you can say the exact same thing, but for some reason they can hear it from you better.
Kristen Boss (08:59): And for me, it tended to be all my competition was mostly men. So for a lot of my, and the industry I serve is 80% women owned business, so they wanted to actually hear it from a woman. So that already brought something different to the table. But people have a lot of drama of, I don’t know enough, I don’t feel like an expert. And we’re always learning. There are days when I’m like, I’m not an expert either, but all I’m doing is just sharing my knowledge and just deciding It’s valuable because I tell people we tend to have a value bias thinking. We have our own bias with our own stories, especially our lived stories thinking, well, eh, it’s kind of boring to me. I don’t see how that’s great, but somebody could hear it from you and be like, oh, that’s amazing. You just blew my mind. It’s like, really? This is just something, this is just something I think about on an average Tuesday in a coffee shop, right?
Graham Cochrane (09:49): Exactly What I have a buddy that says, what’s ordinary to us is extraordinary to someone else. And you don’t know that until you put something out there and you get feedback. You need the feedback loop. So you really can’t decide in your head that what I have to share isn’t good enough. You’re not the authority on yourself or your ideas. And the only way to test it is to do something risky and put it out there. And it’s really not that risky because I have so many students that are so stressed out about their first YouTube videos or their first podcast. I’m like, you don’t have any followers. No one’s going to see it. Nobody cares. Don’t stress. You’re not big yet. So go ugly early. Get your stuff out there. Just try it, find your voice and then you’ll figure out what people respond to.
Graham Cochrane (10:37): I’ll give you an example. I learned, it took me years to figure this out. I learned after probably five years, I started to mention on podcasts that Shay and I, when I started my business, we we had lost my job. I was unemployed and we were on food stamps for 18 months. And I mentioned that in passing one in one interview. And the guy was like, whoa, bro, you were on food stamps for 18 months. What was that like? How did you feel? Was that, and I was like, whoa, that was embarrassing. I mean, I’ve had a college degree, I’ve always worked since I was 14. And here I was having to pay for groceries with that little, that debit card that the government gives you with a giant bald eagle and American flag on it in the E B T. And I felt embarrassed every time I went to the grocery store.
Graham Cochrane (11:23): Why am I on government handouts? I never imagined I’d be in this situation. And his response to me just sharing that, which I hadn’t shared publicly ever, was very insightful. So then I tried it out again and just shared a little bit more often and it created such feedback where people felt like they could empathize with me. They’ve had a low point financially too. And they no longer saw me as someone who’s coming in trying to swoop down from a mountaintop and say, Hey, look what I’ve figured out. They saw me as a regular person who had a really hard time with a baby and a wife and a mortgage and no money, and had that low point and then, wow, if Graham could do this, I could do this. And that was powerful for me. But it took me just putting stuff out there and seeing that people really responded to me being more vulnerable.
Graham Cochrane (12:07): Brene Brown’s made a living just talking about vulnerability. It’s the opposite of what we want to do. It makes us feel weak and not strong, and yet it, it’s what endears people to us and helps them trust us and bond with us, which is half the battle when it comes to selling anything is that do they trust you? Do they like you? And so I don’t know, you don’t know that stuff until you try putting stuff out there and helping people and it just develops over time. I didn’t have this figured out. I still don’t have this figured out every day. I’m a little nervous to share something every day. I feel like, well, she’s doing it better than I am. He’s doing it better than I am. I think it’s just human nature.
Kristen Boss (12:41): And I think it’s important that people here, even with us, with our, what you can call mature businesses, businesses that have been around, I mean you’ve had yours around for quite some time and that people to think, Hey, it’s normal. You never really arrive at this place of I know it all now. I never struggle anymore. In fact, there’s just bigger lessons waiting for you as your business grows and you’re like, oh, time to get uncomfortable again. But to, I’d like to bring you back because you mentioned something I think is very key that my audience needs to hear more than I think they’d like to hear. And this idea of audience growth first monetization later. And a lot of times people don’t have the patience, especially when they’re in a place of scarcity. So I want to kind of bring you back to food stamp time where you are in that place where everything can very easily feel high stakes.
Kristen Boss (13:32): And I need this to work out. I need this income. So what do you tell somebody who’s in that place where they’re feeling financial scarcity in their life, but they’re also in this, the new parts where it’s like, Hey, while you’re in scarcity, you also can’t rush trust. You also can’t like super rush building an audience. That takes time too. So what do you share with somebody when they’re kind of in that scarcity, but also realizing you have to go through audience growth and monetization later? What do you have to say to someone that’s there?
Graham Cochrane (14:05): Yeah, that’s real. I would feel your pain. I had two mouths to feed and I felt a lot of pressure. So there’s like two parts. One is, this is something I always say because I want to beat at home, even for myself. Without an audience, nothing is possible, but with an audience, anything is possible. You could write a book and have people to sell it to. You could do coaching, you could do a retreat, you could do an in-person event, you could do whatever you want. You could affiliate promote other people’s products. But the difference maker is the audience of people. So that is your asset. Your goal is to have a loyal audience. Doesn’t have to be humongous. The bigger the better, maybe as long as they’re engaged. But an audience that loves you and loves what you’re doing, that’s the most important asset you could be building.
Graham Cochrane (14:53): Long term, short term. I teach people, there’s no people come to me and they’re like, Ooh, they’ve heard about the idea maybe of an online course. And they’re like, oh, this is great. I can package up my knowledge. I can sell a course. And they get the mechanics of it on some level, or they heard somebody talk about it, and then they do, they make a course and they try to sell it and nobody bought it. And I always have to ask them, well, how big is your email list? Oh, I mean, I have 12 people or 30 people or a hundred people. And people just have unrealistic expectations of how easy it’s to sell a course. Or they’re like, well, I just ran a bunch of Facebook ads and I thought they would convert. It’s just not that simple. So before you can get into the dream of passive income, which I do teach all the time, most of my income is automated evergreen funnels.
Graham Cochrane (15:37): I really like dependable checks that I just know it’s coming in and I like to have as little stress in my life as possible. But when you’re starting out, it’s not going to happen right away. So the fastest way to monetize that will actually help you in your audience building, which is the tried and true method to really make a good living is I think one-on-one coaching. And you can just one-on-one helping people if you don’t like the word coaching. And so even if you have no audience, you probably have some social media, Facebook, Instagram, even with it’s friends. And you could just put out there in the world, Hey if you’ve decided, let’s say you lost a lot of weight, or you got yourself in shape, or you’ve never coached anybody, but you turned your life around physically, you have knowledge about that, you’ve done something, you’ve created a transformation for yourself, you could help somebody else.
Graham Cochrane (16:22): So you could get online and say, Hey, I’m looking to take on two to three clients to help them get some physical transformation in their bodies. I did. I lost 50 pounds. This is my before and after, and I want to help women who are busy moms or whatever might be the target, help have this transformation. If you’re interested in knowing more about that, just DM me and I’ll see if you’re a good fit. And then you can see who raises their hands to be like tell me more about that. And you can just one-on-one message them, well, what’s your challenge right now? What are you hoping to accomplish? If I could wave a magic wand for you and I can’t, but if I could and get you some result, what would that result be? And you’re kind of figuring out, even if they don’t hire you, you’re figuring out what their pain points are, what their dreams are, which is sneaky fun.
Graham Cochrane (17:06): But then someone will probably be like, I’m really interested in hiring you. What would it cost? And then you just make up a price for a package of six months or six calls or three months or three, whatever it would be. It doesn’t matter. But you’re going to get paid. Someone’s going to pay you something to help them, and you’re really getting paid to do research, which is going to help you build that avatar of who your customer will be in the future for your courses, your coaching, your communities. And it’s the fastest way to make some money and figure out how to build that audience in the future.
Kristen Boss (17:36): That’s how I started too. Super messy. And I think it’s so valuable that you said you’re getting paid to do research, because at the beginning, I did not know what I was doing. I was like, well, everyone keeps calling me and asking me for this advice. So I think I started at, I don’t know one hour calls for $99, just, I didn’t even sell a package. And I was like, but I was listening. What I was doing was I was spending a lot of time with somebody who I wanted to serve, and I was hearing directly from the source what the pain points were, what the struggles were. And I tell my audience to do this, to figure out their niche, their avatar, the audience that they’re going to grow, especially, hey, this is the content you’re going to create for this type of person.
Kristen Boss (18:13): And it’s very easy for people to think, I need to talk to everybody in my marketing. I’m like, no, no, no, no. You talk to one person in your marketing, you, it’s writing a love note to that one person all the time. That very, oh, it’s so good. Very deeply. And my audience is always, are you in my journal? Are you reading? Are you here in my house? Do you have cameras in my house? I’m like, no, I just make it my business to know you as intimately as possible because my job is to solve your problems. And so yeah, it does start messy. And with the majority of my audience, they have commissionable links where they sell a product that they enjoy. So it could be like, mm-hmm. A weight loss shake. And it’s so easy, especially with what we call a warm market.
Kristen Boss (18:53): You have some audience naturally of people who you know, trust you where they might see that you lost the weight or your skin looks better. You could just say, oh, well this is what I use and it’s great. But we have to talk about the long-term asset building of growing an audience because you can’t rush that. But it is probably the most important asset that you can possibly have as a business owner. And I know for me many times I’m like, well, if I can’t coach this industry or anything goes wrong, I’ve got an audience. Okay, I’ll just create something new. It’s not a problem. It’s the best asset you can have. Which is why I also tell people, do not build your business on rented land. Meaning like, oh, yes, you don’t own your followers on Instagram or on Facebook or anywhere else. You have to grow an email list. It is a not, come on now. Negotiable.
Graham Cochrane (19:43): Come on somebody. Hallelujah. Yeah, yeah, church right Now, listen to Kristen.
Kristen Boss (19:49): And so I’ll never forget, I think it was a year ago, Instagram glitched out for 24 hours and everyone was freaking out. And the first reel I made was it was that clip from Anchorman where he is, I thought you were a joke aid. I even wrote it in my journal for Reddick. I had a very funny joke today.
Kristen Boss (20:10): I said, the social sellers wishing they had an email list. And it was true because people were like, that was kind of a wake up call for me, because what I like to ask people is if social media went away, what would happen to your business? And if mm-hmm people were like, I would actually not make any money, I’d be like, now the first and most urgent pressing thing you need to work on in your business right now is your email list. So I love that you just had the honest conversation of you don’t get to monetize right away. You have to build the audience first. However, with affiliate marketing and commissionable links, they can monetize quickly. It’s just smaller, sure. But later time, it’s just audience growth is key. So something we talked about earlier before we hit record as you talked about, which is a core value of mine, is sustainable business practices and the holistic picture of your life as an entrepreneur, not just succeeding and your business, but who you are in your marriage and with your family and your downtime and vacations. And you said, you know what? That is totally a sweet spot for me because I really believe in working as little as possible, protecting my work hours. So share a little bit about how you have designed your life or designed your business around the life that you want to live.
Graham Cochrane (21:26): Yeah, I mean, you said it right? You want to build a business that serves your life not the other way around. Most people, they start, they want the business cause they need the money or want the money, or they want to do work they really enjoy. And all of those things are great. And I love entrepreneurship. You love entrepreneurship. And that’s the problem is that you fall in love with it if it’s a good company. So you find yourself working all the time because you really believe in it. I worked in corporate America. I wanted to clock out as fast as possible. I didn’t care about the company’s mission. When it’s yours, you really care about it. And so that’s a dangerous loop because then there’s no guardrails and it’s very easy to justify, well, I should stay around a little bit longer in the office, or I can take that call in the evening, or now I’m working on the weekends, or can we wrap up our vacation a little fast?
Graham Cochrane (22:10): Or I brought the laptop on the vacation and now you’re doing stuff you would never have done If you worked for another company, you would never, if you could avoid it, bring your laptop on vacation to answer the boss’s emails or you wouldn’t care. You’re like, this is my vacation. But you disrespect yourself when you become self-employed and you’re no longer have those healthy barriers. And so it goes out the window unless you say otherwise. So I’m a big believer in starting with what are the things in my life that are important to me? So for example, I have two daughters. They’re 13 and 11, they’re amazing. And so I want to be there every morning when they wake up. I want to make breakfast for them, I want to have time to talk with them, and I want to be able to take them to school and drop ’em off every day.
Graham Cochrane (22:51): And then I want to be able to pick them up after school most days, if not me, then my wife. So that means my work hours need to shift during school hours only max. I don’t want to work Fridays because I want to spend time with my wife. And we created a date day on Fridays once the kids started staying up later and they don’t have as many one-on-one evenings with my wife, I used to, when the kids were little and they’d go to bed earlier, we had to do something different. So Fridays are just our date day we go, we work out or go for a long walk, go to lunch somewhere, just have time just to hang out during the day while the kids are at school. I don’t want to work weekends. I want to be able to take a month off in the summer and travel with my family if I want to.
Graham Cochrane (23:31): So I start with those things. That would be nice. And they may not be possible yet, but then you start to use simple frameworks. I love it’s a little bit dated now, but it’s still relevant. Tim Ferris’s book, the Four Hour Work Week, the whole section, the book on liberation or elimination, excuse me, that that’s worth the price of admission alone. He talks a lot about the 80 20 principle, Pareto’s principle and then Parkinson’s Law. And you put those two together, 80 20. Pareto’s principle says that most of your results, like 80% of it, come from 20% of your activities. So that takes a lot of honesty to look at all the things you’re doing. And going back to your point about social media, I make fun of social media a lot. It’s kind of a polarizing thing for me, which is another meta super power for you.
Graham Cochrane (24:14): If you’re a content creator, have some polarizing points of view, people pay attention a little bit more. So one of mine is as I’ll make fun of social media and say that you don’t need it to make a living online. And for example, I tested it, I took a year off of social media a couple years ago, and my business five Xed during that same year. So yes, that’s awesome. So yeah, I just wanted to see, cause I was getting sick of social media, it was such a nasty place. I’m going to take a year off and see what happens and the business five x. So I’ll say things like, Hey, you’re looking at all the things you do in a week. They’re not all valuable. They might all have some value, some things don’t have any value, but you have to be honest about that.
Graham Cochrane (24:52): But some things will have some little value, but if you got rid of them, your income would stay almost about the same or just dip down a little bit. But you could free up 80% of your time or 70% of your time or half your time. So sometimes looking at that lopsided nature of what you do versus the results you get is important. And then you pair that with Parkinson’s law, which is just that whole principle that work expands to whatever amount of time you give it. You keep yourself a week to film something, it’ll take you the whole week. And so I got weird and I started to every year give myself shorter work weeks. I would just shave off time automatically and be like, well get it done in less time. And then I also, I know I would drop it. So I started at 32 hours a week because I always took one day off during the week with my family because my weekends were busy, we were planning a church.
Graham Cochrane (25:44): And so I didn’t really have a real weekend. So I only had four days anyway, 32 hours. And then every year I would just shave off hours and see could I get it done? What would I have to do to get it done? What do I have to eliminate something? Do I have to buy some software to replace something? Do I have to delegate it to somebody else? And that’s a very last resort, by the way. You don’t have to hire people right away. But usually eliminating and automating will take care of most things. And then if I just give myself less time, would I be more focused with my time? Would I be less distracted, have my phone away, could I produce more? And the answer is yes. If you think about it, you’re smart. If you’re listening to this, you’re smart. You could do this.
Graham Cochrane (26:19): And I, I’m not to brag, but for context, I’ve gotten my business, both of ’em. I’ve run two online businesses. I’ve gotten them both down to less than five hours a week of work that I have to do. And they’re seven figure businesses. So you can make over a million dollars a year working less than five hours a week. Cause I’ve done it twice in two different niches and it’s become a weird game for me to figure that out. And so maybe I’m a little weird, I get a little too obsessed with it. But at the point just being, you would be surprised what you can do if you’re forced to get creative and figure out a way. But it might mean saying no to some good things that you like doing, but maybe they’re not the best use of your time. And maybe you just need to learn some new skills or strategies or maybe new income streams that could be more passive in the background so that you could spend less time selling or doing other things or one-on-one coaching.
Graham Cochrane (27:10): Anything’s possible. And so that, that’s to me is important because at the end of the day, back to your question, my business is going to come and go but I only have so many years with my kids in my house. My oldest, I have five more summers with her, which is crazy when I start to think about it that way. Five more summers. And so those years are the most important. And then I’ll, I want to have time with my wife, you know, can always make more money later but you could also make more money now if you just think about it differently. You don’t have to work all the time to make it.
Kristen Boss (27:40): Oh, so good mic. So many mic drops. It’s so funny. One of the hacks I do because I’ve been slowly shaving off my weeks too, kind of just challenging myself as well. And something I recently started doing was in my Google calendar become such a nerd. I used to boycott systems and say, I’m not organized. And I’ve become such a system fan. When you understand how much systems and automation save you time, you get a lot less resistant to it. So I used to have all kinds of resistance, like automations and systems and tech. I’d be like, that’s so overwhelming to me. I don’t want to have to figure out the flow on the front end. But when I saw the value on the back end and how many hours a week that was going to save me, I’m like, now I am a systems queen and I love it and it’s something I really value.
Kristen Boss (28:24): But one thing I recently started doing was in my Google calendar, I color coded all of my activities. Red makes me no money. Yellow keeps me stagnant, and green is green. Green is my money maker content. And so I divided everything. So I can look at my week at a quick glance and it tells me, it forms a pie chart for me. And it tells me exactly like I’ve got too much red this week, or Oh, I’m perfect. I’m got more in the green or whatever. So I don’t even have to look at my, and it also adds my hours and tells me exactly how many hours working. Yes, tech. So that’s awesome. I think for me it’s, it’s been amazing and very, it keeps me very accountable, very honest. And there have been times we were just talking before we hit record, do you meetings And meetings are a red for me.
Kristen Boss (29:11): It does not make me money. But sometimes they are like the necessary evil. Or when it’s in red, you ask yourself the very necessary question, could this be in an email? If this could be done in Slack or an email, we’re going to get it done there because we don’t meet just to meet. I even tell my teams this, I’m like, Hey, listen, if it can be handled in Slack or in an email, do it there. It’s because meetings just, it’s just noisy. And I think people get meeting fatigue. But it just helped me be more honest with my time. And the same values. My kids are younger, seven and almost six. So we have a standing date today as well. We do breakfast on Friday mornings and then we have our time together and that’s been really important. And then on the weekends, we’re gone.
Kristen Boss (29:53): We’re skiing, we’re having fun. And I don’t know about you, but it took me time to learn to shut off my brain and not think about my business on the weekends because I could be away from my desk. But then mentally I’d still be like, how’s that funnel doing? What are my customer’s doing? Yeah. Does my team need this? What’s going on there? So it did take me that it took time and mental discipline to become somebody who could truly let that go. And one thing my husband’s always telling me, and I think it’s from his ministry background, he’s like, babe, there is always work to be done. It is, you’re never going to have anything completed ever, because there’s just going to be another project around the corner. And I think that was something that was a huge switch for me because I was a hair stylist, so I was very used to someone coming in, getting their highlights, getting a haircut. I’d see the finished product and they’d leave. I went home and I didn’t have to think about anybody’s hair. I went home and unplugged, and then I became an entrepreneur and I had to learn, I’m going to call ’em mental boundaries around your business because something, I don’t know if you do your strengths finder, if you’ve done Clifton or Gallup. Okay, so mine is, I’m a futurist. Me too. Oh my gosh. So I’m a fu. Yes. My number one is strategic. Number two is futurist. So for me,
Graham Cochrane (31:11): Wait. So I’m the, I’m futurist and strategic right behind it. And supposedly that’s a rare combination. What we’re unicorns we’re special snowflake. I knew
Kristen Boss (31:19): It too. We’re allowed to say this now. Yes. But now I’m curious to your other three because my other ones are activator, command and communication. Those are
Graham Cochran (31:27): My other three. And so I don’t remember. I just was the only those one, you just
Kristen Boss (31:30): Know you’re top two. Well, here. Okay, so then you can deeply empathize with this in the sense of when you’re a futurist, it’s so easy to be thinking, to be living in tomorrow. And then when you’re a strategist, solving tomorrow’s problems. And so when you’re an entrepreneur, you are, I’m sometimes solving problems that don’t even exist. That may never exist. So I had to get myself out of this hypervigilant state of solving imaginary problems or contingencies that didn’t even exist. I’m curious if that’s
Graham Cochrane (32:03): Something you have. Oh my gosh, you’re reading my mail. So we’re the same person underneath. I identify with that so much. It’s like the blessing. Because if you’re a futurist and strategic, that’s the ultimate power for a entrepreneur. Cause you can plan the future and solve in advance. And it’s seeing around the corner almost and being able to arrive. I already knew this was going to happen. It’s not really real, but only God can do that. But we’re pretty good at some version of that. But then the curse is that the only moment that exists, literally I’ve had mindset coaching with an awesome gal who’s just helping me. My goals helped me live in the present, helping me to stay present, yes, because that’s where I struggle. I’ll create the best future in the world and then I’ll get to that future and that becomes the present.
Graham Cochrane (32:44): And I’m already onto the next future. So I understand that. I think this is why it’s more messy than it even sounds like when anytime I share this stuff, I know it’s always more messy than what comes out. To your point, I’ve whittled my work hours down, and I could talk about that all day long, but it’s such a different game in your head in terms of the weight or responsibility you feel for the business to continue. And when the economy going back even to your further point gets iffy, you just never know what’s going to happen. And this has been an interesting three years, you covid, we thought, oh man, no, everyone’s going to stop spending money. But if you had an online business in 2020, you crushed 2021, you probably crushed. And then 20, 22, some people were like, oh gosh, it’s gone down for me.
Graham Cochrane (33:24): I still had a really good year. But there were some other things in place and it’s, it’s just hard to predict what’s going to happen. So that can stress you out because then you’re trying to control everything. I think the reality is your color coding and your calendar, that type of work of, Hey, take an off day when I’m clearheaded, when I’m relaxed, maybe go to your happy place, a nice coffee shop the beach, buy a park bench, whatever. And think clearly about what are the tasks that really make me money, and what are the ones that I’m not really sure about? And what are the ones that are sometimes? And then what are the things that I find valuable in life giving in my business? And what’s, what are my family? What do they need right now? What are my relationships need? Just identify, have the mental awareness of what matters when you’re in your right mind, and then try to orchestrate your work around it so that when it becomes messy and you lean into, in your case maybe productivity mode, you can pull back and remember.
Graham Cochrane (34:21): Well, the goal isn’t to be productive. That’s not the goal of life. There’s a lot of productivity tips, but that’s not the goal. That’s like a means goal. It’s not an end goal. It’s a means to some different end. So if you’re able to be productive and create more space in your life, you got to know when to stop being overly productive and actually live your darn life. It’s like say, making a lot of money, but then never deciding to spend it. What was the point of saving and making money if you don’t spend it? So that’s just I think what happens to us naturally, unless you slow down and say, okay, what’s the goal? What’s important in our lives right now? And that changes every year, every season. But that’s the mental work that’s necessary to not lose your mind.
Kristen Boss (35:01): Are you in an Enneagram three?
Graham Cochrane (35:03): Yep.
Kristen Boss (35:04): We really are. Unicorns. Yeah. I was like you talking about the goal not being productive. I’m like, that sounds like a three and I know a three because I am one. Yep. But yeah, it’s the same. Working on presents. I think for me, and maybe this is something you had to do as well, but I had to really learn to pick up hobbies things that were not about things to enjoy without creating a result. My husband would even be like, babe, have you ever thought about doing something just for the sake of enjoying it? And I was like, what kind of nonsense is that? Unless it’s a, a competi competition, medal, a trophy, what?
Graham Cochrane (35:41): I just want to win.
Kristen Boss (35:43): I just want to win. And so it’s like, oh, hobby, I’m going to pick up racing or I’m going to pick up these
Graham Cochrane (35:48): Things. That’s what I did. I took up cycling. Oh man.
Kristen Boss (35:52): Yeah. So it’s just for me, I’ve had to learn to, but it’s been healthy to find hobbies for skiing for me with my family. There’s no race involved. It’s just being with my kids. And it truly does help me kind of unplug, remember where I’m at, remember the importance of the present moment. And I will say I’ve had to learn that being a futurist, this idea of we’re living so much in the future, that the present of the future eventually becomes the present and we’re already living in the next future. And I think there was a season where I think I battled some depression because I realized I was never living and enjoying what I was building. And it was a sobering reality for me, realizing I have got to stay present in the now. And I realized just some of it was just old survival mechanisms kicking in because there was like, you remember your lack, you remember your scarcity. And anytime your nervous system remembers that, your nervous system is like, oh, this is my cue to go into hyper-productive Kristen or hyper-productive Graham mode because that’s what saved us last time. So I’ve had to be like, wow, hyper aware, understanding that oftentimes my productivity is really a coping mechanism for feeling safe and secure in the world.
Graham Cochrane (37:15): Wow. Thank you for saying that. Because I think that’s true for a very, very many, a lot of people. And you’re a hundred percent right. That’s my tendency is I will go back to 2009, broke Graham, we’re making 500 bucks a month. We’re two broke to afford sunblock, and we live in Florida. It’s like, okay, is there going to be money next month? And it’s like, well, hold on. If you’re using irrational brain, we’re at a level of success that I never dreamed possible. We’re going to be fine. But the data doesn’t change how you feel inside. If you still have broken mental scripts or old mental scripts that you’re operating out of, or if you, they’re like you said, there’s a trigger that just takes you back, even if you’ve moved past it, but you can be triggered back to it. That’s a very real thing.
Graham Cochrane (37:59): It’s something a lot of successful people don’t talk about. And so it actually does a disservice to those that are trying to become as successful as them because then you get to that point and they become, at least I did got very, maybe it was depression. I was very disenchanted with success. I was like, this is not what I thought it was going to be like. I’m still unsatisfied, unhappy at times, stressed out at times, still have identity issues. Who am I? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? I was like, why do I feel like I’m the same person just with more money in my bank account? And yes, I didn’t solve all the problems, solve some of them, but not all of them. And then you can’t talk about that because people will tell you, and I’ve had them tell me, well, it’s nice problem to have.
Graham Cochrane (38:41): And it’s like they just don’t know. Haven’t been in I, I’ve been in both sides, nothing. And then a lot. And I know you have too. So same. This is very real. And this is the messy part of entrepreneurship. Why mental health and knowing yourself and doing the inner work, which is doesn’t seem very productive if you’re in Enneagram three, but is very important for you to be sustainable, to be a good wife and husband, father, mother. Because if you’re not clear up here in your head, then doesn’t matter if you hit six figures, multi six, seven, multi seven, eight figures, you’re still the same broken person. You got to figure something out. And that’s why I like the big philosophical questions about what do you want your life to look like? What do you want when you’re 80 years old, what do you want to look back and what do you want people to say? You are who you are as a person, as an 80 year old. What kind of legacy do you want to live? And then reverse engineer it to how does that affect this launch I’m doing right now? Or has it affect what I’m doing on Instagram all day today? Is that necessary? Is that getting me closer to that? And these are the questions that I think are worth asking.
Kristen Boss (39:45): Yeah. This idea of, I think it would be a disservice to not talk about this, because I think that’s what made it kind of depressing for me when I got there was I was like, no one, wait, hold on. No one told me that you would feel no different with X number of zeros in your bank account. Everyone was selling me that it would be magically better. And I remember it was kind of my emotional reckoning when I realized there is no amount of zeros in a bank account that will rescue you out of the human experience or being a human, experiencing disappointment and hurt and anger and hard days and still dealing with gratitude. Having gratitude even when your bank accounts is different. Because you can have the data, like you said, you can look at the data and say, look at what’s in my bank account.
Kristen Boss (40:32): But then you also have a nervous system that might not feel safe with that. And your nervous system might be like, yeah, yeah, but it could all go away. And then I’m going to go back to 2009. I’m going to go for us. I’m going to, I’m go back to broken furnace, broken dryer, broken washer, yeah. Can’t afford guacamole. In my Chipotle order days. That’s where we’re, and so my nervous system, anytime there’s a trigger of lacker scarcity, my nervous system wants to bring me back to that. It’s like, okay, let’s activate hyper-productive Kristen mode, where I call it hustle. And my whole book is about leaving the hustle culture behind and understanding love that all of it was just from needing security and looking for my worth in the world through my work. And so I always have to kind of remind myself like, you are safe, you are secure.
Kristen Boss (41:20): But the nervous system, it will go into old kind of the, it’s old programming knowing like, oh, when things get scary, we work like a crazy person. We problem solve. I live in the future. I strategize it to death. And then I’ve just realized, okay, I’ve got to learn to live in today and figure out if my security doesn’t come from what’s in the bank account, what does it come in, come from? And just having to go on that journey as well. So I think this is, I’m so glad we’re having this very honest unicorn conversation.
Graham Cochrane (41:50): You got deep. Oh
Kristen Boss (41:51): No, I love it. But I know my audience values this because I don’t want overly curated pictures of what entrepreneurship is. And I also want people to know it’s still worth it. The game of entrepreneurship is the best, most worthwhile game you will ever play. Would you agree?
Graham Cochrane (42:17): Sorry, it froze.
Kristen Boss (42:18): It’s okay. I got a marker there for editing. Did you hear me about the best editing game? The best game?
Graham Cochrane (42:27): Sorry, say that again.
Kristen Boss (42:29): I was just saying entrepreneurship I think is the greatest game you will ever play. It’s still worth it, even with all these hard parts of the journey. It’s the greatest game. Yeah. It’s still worth it.
Graham Cochrane (42:40): Well, yeah. What is your alternative? I mean, you have to think about it that way. Entrepreneurship’s never going to be all that’s cracked up to be just everything in this world. I’m married to it, the best woman I know, but even she’s not all I could imagine. She could be just like, I’m not all she could imagine. I could be. But what’s the alternative? And as like you said, there’s not even going back to our low points in our life. That’s the trigger for the fear. I think fear is baked into the human experience. I, we have thousands of years of humans literally living every day in fear of survival and for their safety, not having enough food. And then we’re living in a unique time where for most of us, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re going to be fine. You’re going to find a way.
Graham Cochrane (43:25): There’s lots of ways, especially in America, there’s a lot of ways to make a living. As much as people want to complain, just go live. There’s a lot of other countries you could go try to live in a realize just how hard it is. So this fear is just baked into our history, and it’s no longer serving us anymore. We don’t need it. And so you just need to, it’s just hard to out outlearn it. That’s what’s so baked into us. But it doesn’t go away. So you kind of just do the thing anyway. And that’s why I think you do have to have a bigger goal, which is going back to what we talked about, which is, what is your life? What do you value? Who do you want to spend your time with? And what do you need financially to pull that off? It’s probably a lot less than you think.
Kristen Boss (44:05): So good. Graham, thank you so much for coming on today and just literally offering my audience. I call it a fire hose of value, like they’re going to need to stop, rewind, maybe take some notes. This was just so good. Thanks for coming on. Tell my people, if they don’t know where to find you, tell my people where they can find you. We’ll also put it in the show notes.
Graham Cochrane (44:25): Yeah. Graham cochran.com, YouTube. There’s a weekly podcast, a Graham Cochran show, whether you YouTube it or listen to the podcast app of your choice. And yeah, if the book is sounding interesting to you, I like to give the first couple of chapters away for free because it does teach the business model. So you can kind of have a preview of whether you like that or not. It’s graham cochrane.com/chapters. You get the first two chapters of the book for free. It’s called How to Get Paid For. Check it out.
Kristen Boss (44:49): There you have it, friends. All right, Graham, thank you so much being on today.
Graham Cochrane (44:53): Thanks for having me, Kristen. It was fun.