Episode 19: Roadmap to Freedom
Implementing knowledge to change our lives.
It’s time for an action plan!
In the previous six episodes, we have been taking a look at different freedoms – but we don’t want to just listen to ideas, we want to implement the knowledge.
In this episode of the Elite Entrepreneur show, I round up our previous discussions, and focus on one or two key actions from each episode that you can take… it’s a roadmap to your own freedom.
“Want to know more about how to start your own highly-profitable digital marketing business?”
Welcome back to the Elite Entrepreneur show, episode number 19. Where we continue our discussion on freedom. In fact, this is our last episode on the series.
If you’re just tuning in, the Elite Entrepreneur show is for entrepreneurs who believe that the way to become the best entrepreneur you possibly can be is to invest in your own mindset and to invest in our own education, so you can become one of those elite entrepreneurs who possess elite skills that other entrepreneurs don’t.
For those of you guys that are back, that’s been following the series welcome back. So good to spend time with you. I’m really excited. Because today’s episode we are going to round up all the previous episodes that we’ve done, from episode number 12 all the way through to episode number 18.
Now, we’ve been chatting about freedom and I’ve given you guys six different episodes on the topic of freedom. What today’s episode is about is to kind of bring it all together, is to really look at an action plan.
If you’ve been following for any length of time you know that I’m a really big believer in implementing knowledge. Knowledge gained is useless, knowledge applied is power. So we never even want to just listen to ideas, we want to implement them. However, some ideas can’t be implemented immediately, it requires a lot of thinking, requires a little bit of back and forth. Sometimes it requires integration. What I want to do in this episode is I want to kind of bring the previous six episodes together, but I want to focus on one or two key actions that you can take from each episode to give you a bit of a roadmap for your own freedom.
I believe freedom is the ultimate human right. I mean I believe human beings were born free, and I believe that we were born to be free. But I’ve also noticed that as life goes by, we often lose our freedom. We often lose our freedom to so many different factors that are seemingly outside of our control but they actually are within our control. Our goal is to take those freedoms back, our goal is to realise what our freedoms are, and our goal is to take them back.
I know I probably sound like a political evangelist. I’m not talking about freedom from slavery, right. I’m talking about freedom from mental slavery, and other kinds of slavery. Freedom is the highest value I think that entrepreneurs aspire to. In my many years of business coaching I wanted to really understand what drives entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs want to be free. They don’t want to have constraints. They want to change the world, they want to do great things, they want to do inspiring things. But to be able to do that, they kind of have constraints. So freedom is the opposite of being constrained. So I’m gonna do a quick recap on the different episodes.
In episode number 12, we spoke about freedom as a concept, right. I made the statement that I just made that freedom is the opposite of constraint. I believe that the departure point for getting all the freedoms, right, all the freedoms that I have spoken about, is valuing freedom. I think that’s a departure point. This is really being truthful with yourself and saying listen, in which areas of my life, do I feel free, and in which areas of my life, do I feel like a slave. The truth will set you free. Because the moment you realize where you feel stuck, where you like prisoner, you can put an action plan in place because otherwise you just want to do it, right.
Also identify where you are free, where you didn’t maybe realise that you actually free. Because I think that sometimes also something that happens. You know we believe there’s certain constraints that actually just don’t exist, right. To also achieve balance. That freedom isn’t just one thing. I think a lot of people overdo financial freedom as a goal. Again, it’s not a less important goal than any of the other goals but it shouldn’t be the only goal, right. There’s many goals that we need to accomplish and freedom is multifaceted.
So I think my key suggestion for you, and a takeaway, from episode number 12 is just start valuing freedom. You know looking at the choices you make in life, look at everything that you do in life from a perspective of freedom, right. Am I emotionally free or am I stuck in a state of anger and am I physically free, am I able to move, am I able bodied, am I financially free? Look at everything from a freedom perspective and identify constraints so that you can apply some of the key takeaways and some of the key concepts that come from the different episodes.
If you’re new to this, if you’ve missed any of the episodes. I highly recommend you go and binge-watch or binge-listen all the way from episode number 12 all the way through to this episode, episode number 19. Because the concepts all layer and they all work together to give you a greater sense of freedom in life.
So that’s episode number 12 is value freedom. Start by valuing freedom and stop by refusing to give up your own freedom, right. And then you can put action plans in place.
Episode number 13 is about financial freedom. There’s a lot that’s been said about it, there’s a lot that’s been written about it, you know why it’s important. The question is when are you financially free?
Robert Kiyosaki has a definition, he says in his book Cash Flow Quadrant that financial freedom is a goal you achieve when your passive income exceeds your monthly expenses. So it’s very interesting, he doesn’t talk just about earnings and he also doesn’t talk about a balance sheet how much money you’ve got a bank. He says that when your passive income exceeds your fixed expenses.
Now that’s quite a difficult goal to achieve it will take many many years to achieve that goal. In my experience because very few things are passive. I mean even properties, we’ve got several friends massive property portfolios and nothing passive about it. There’s lots of friends that’s in multi-level marketing, there’s nothing passive about it. I’ve yet to find passive income, I don’t think it really exists. I think it does exist to a degree if you have a mountain of capital that’s sitting somewhere in a unit trust or something like that and there’s a fund manager managing your account. I guess, I guess that’s passive but you need so much money to be able to make a living to have, you know, genuine passive income. I think it’s doable but I think it’s a twenty, thirty or forty year goal for most people.
There is an alternative and that’s called annuity revenue, right. and let me qualify that statement. In most businesses the hardest thing is every month the cash flow isn’t that predictable, right. How many deals are going to come in, are they going to close, you know, what’s the cash flow looking like, is there delay in cash and the root cause of that is that this month’s income wasn’t secured last month, you see. That’s only possible within annuity revenue and there very few businesses that can generate in annuity.
One way to generate annuity revenue, let’s say for example your IT company has service level agreements. Tying people up into an agreement for 12 months, 14 months where there’s a fixed retainer revenue that comes in every single month. You can sell products like software that has monthly billings, you can create products where there’s monthly billings.
That’s one of the reasons by the way why I love and why I teach people how to run digital marketing agencies. Because it’s one of it’s one of so few businesses we can genuinely build monthly annuity revenue and that’s what I love about it, you know, our students they are so successful they find that with seven clients or ten clients the annuity revenue that they’re getting every single month, they still work for it, right. It’s not wealth without work but it’s bankable, it’s secured. This month’s income was secured a month or two three months ago. If one client goes away you don’t lose the farm, see.
So from my perspective if you wanted to achieve financial freedom, yes all the other things are also important that Suze Orman teaches – make sure that you don’t overspend, make sure you don’t go and buy all sorts of rubbish that can’t add value to your life. That’s true. Save, that’s also true; invest, that’s also true. But what’s the one big thing that you can focus on, that’s gonna that’s going to move the needle the most?
In my opinion financial constraint is a feeling, right. Financial freedom for most people as a opposite of financial struggle, right. And a lot of that comes down to how much people earn. You know, you can only save so much, you can only cut so much and there’s a point where quality of life suffers because you keep on cutting. At some point the answer is to earn more, right. And you don’t just want to earn more, you want to earn more predictably.
So if you currently any X but you need Y to live well, get to Z on retainer revenue and let me tell you something it will change your life. Because all of a sudden you’re not worried about next month, you’re not worried can I send my kids to school, and you’re not worried can I go on holiday and still have a life when I come back. You’re not worried about the future, you’re not worried about you know am I gonna be able to afford my bond payment next month, that comes from annuity revenue.
So if you’re not in a business that has annuity revenue, you find a way to create a product that gives you annuity revenue. Start selling other people’s products like software products, that gives you annuity revenue. Start a business that gives annuity revenue, something like a lead generation agency. That honestly is one of the key reasons why I teach others, I just love the business model behind it.
So that is financial freedom. Focus on annuity revenue and focus on earning much more than what you need every single month to build up that stash of cash so that you’ve got the opposite of financial constraint. That’s my number one piece of advice for you on financial freedom.
Let’s move on over to episode number 14 where we spoke about location freedom. Now I’m not gonna repeat everything I spoke about in episode but just in case you haven’t watched listen to it, location freedom is having the option to live and/or work in another place from where you are right now, for whatever reason.
If you want to travel more you want to have the option to take your business with you, if you want to move into a safer area you want to have the option to take your business with you. If you want to take your kids to a new school that’s in a different area, you want to have the option to take your business with you. If the area that you’re living in is becoming less and less financially viable, you want to have the option to not have to earn from the local area.
Have the option, even if you decide there’s no reason why should I change my location, even then you should have location freedom. Why? Because things change, things change. I remember one of my first business was a gym. It was in an area in Pretoria called Arcadia and at the time that I had this gym, it was a great area there were lots of embassies around there were lots of people that worked in town and everything was great. We were printing money by the truckload.
And then slowly but surely it became inner city, right. You know, some of the people moved out, they started to stay further away, some of the embassies started moving further away and the area started going downhill. Now I couldn’t take the business with me. I spent years and years and years building that business but it was going south.
What did I do? I sold the business. I sold it in time, fortunately. I did very well out of it. But what a tragedy you know, that you can’t take your business with you because you’ve got a location-bound business, you know.
If you live in a country where politicians are constantly screwing up, like South Africa, it’s not in your control. What’s gonna happen going for, the exchange rates not in your control. The taxes aren’t in your control. The performance of the economy is not in your control, you know. So if you’re living from one economy, you’ve got risk. Now for Americans people in the UK, that’s not such a big problem. There’s always threats but listen there’s nothing really bad that happens there. You could argue the subprime crisis but that was a global issue. For me I have a business where I’ve done in from one economy and where I don’t have to be bound to a particular location. I just like the option to not have to do this and again this is why I’m such an evangelist. I’m running a digital business.
Now my chosen digital business is running a freelance digital agency. But that’s not the only thing, I mean e-commerce stores whatever. I think a digital business is where it’s at. I think if you can have a business in any way that’s location independent, that would be the ideal position you can possibly find yourself in.
But it’s not the only factor, you know, even if you have a business that there’s a location, it’s a good business, it’s a factory, it’s a manufacturing concern. Whatever the case may be you also want to start building a team where you are not the person that has to be there every single day or if you’re no longer there the business can’t be sold or can’t function anymore. So have a look at your life from a perspective of location freedom even if it’s just not doing traffic every day so that you can go and exercise and spend more time with your kids. That alone is enough of a reason to have a business that gives you greater flexibility over your location, right. So that’s an important one.
Episode number 15, we spoke about time freedom. Time is the one commodity you don’t get back. Money, you get back, money, you can make. You can always set yourself free from a location, but the one thing that’s not replenishable is time, and your physical health, if you lose it one day.
So you want to fight quite hard to try to divorce the relationship between your time and the money that you earn. Tim Ferriss write a good book about this, 4-hour workweek. I think part of it is true, part of that is also not true. I mean, I always choose to work because I love it. The key thing is you want to be able to at some point in your life not have to, you want to have a choice to show up to work.
I think from that point of view, you want to build your business as a system, so that it can work with without you if you choose it. So Michael Gerber wrote this book called The E-myth and he spoke about the franchise prototype. It said, what is a franchise? Franchise is a business system. It’s a system where everything is documented, how to cash up the till, how to make the hamburger, how to do this and do that, everything is documented.
There’s a training program on how to do it, there’s systems, so that the business works even if the owner isn’t. He’s feeling is that the purpose of a business is to give its owner more of a life. More of a life is defined by the owner themselves, what’s important to them. Sadly, most businesses don’t give their owners more life, they give their owners less life, because it becomes a prison.
So I think it is important that you create a path, even if it takes you two or three years to build a team and to build systems, so that your business can ultimately work. If you choose to stay at work, you choose because you love it, awesome for you. Enjoy it. Have the option not to. If something changes in your life. So take your relationship with time and money seriously, because otherwise, you engineer a situation where you can only earn more if you work more. In some way, shape or form, that’s a position most people find themselves in, most people in corporate can’t earn more, unless they work longer hours, which means they’re spending less time with the kids, less time exercising.
In most businesses, every year requires more of them because they never built leverage into them, into their lives, because they haven’t become good at building teams. So in the series, Elite Entrepreneur series, I’m going to teach you guys a lot about how to build a business. I’m going to teach you a lot about finding great people, managing people, setting up communication systems, setting up scorecards, adding meeting cadences, so that you can build a team that can work well, so that you’re not the person that makes the business work. I believe you should take it very, very seriously. We want to have options. You want to be able to spend the kind of work that you love doing.
Bill Gates loved writing software. He didn’t love running a company. What did he do? He hired Steve Ballmer, that was his friend and Steve Ballmer became CEO and he ran the business, while Bill Gates was also building the company, which is the kind of stuff that he loves doing. You’ve got to make sure that your time is well invested into things that you love. You have to make sure that your time isn’t wasted and squandered. I believe most people should just get out of the habit of just spending hours a day on traffic and doing things that are meaningless, sitting in meaningless meetings and having meaningless conversation with meaningless people. Time doesn’t come back.
So we want to have freedom. You want to have time freedom. You want to be able to say, listen, I can have it all right, I can have it all. I believe we can have it all. You want to have enough time to exercise, you want to have enough time with your kids, you want to have enough time to go for a walk, you want to have enough time to just kick back on the couch and read that book that can change your business, that can change your life, you want to have time available to go to the conference. Time is your currency, and you need to take your time back. It’s important.
Next up, you want to have impact. Why do you want to have impact? Because you want to be fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from making a difference in this world. That’s absolutely where it comes from. So choose to do meaningful work. Some of you guys watching or listening to the show right now may say, I hate what I do, but I need the money. I’m not going to say to you there’s an easy solution for it. I’m going to tell you, I have empathy for it, I get it. It’s not that easy to just stop doing what you’re doing. What are you going to do?
There’s a roadmap you see, that you have to follow. You’ve got to create a new path.
In fact, one of the team members has just joined our team. Brilliant guy called Michael. If you’re listening, welcome to our team, Michael.
Michael worked in a coal mine for many years. He hated it, but that’s what he had to do, that’s where his parents came from, that’s his background. He went through our Agency FastTrack program, started a digital agency; and he finally had the opportunity to do that. He said, I love what you guys do at Elite Inc. so much, I’d rather do that.
You don’t have to even start your own business; you can join a company that’s making said difference. But Michael said I want to do meaningful work. He said he wants to wake up in the morning and change people’s lives. Our sales people don’t talk about sales; they talk about lives change. How awesome is that? They don’t talk about I just made a sale, they say I just changed a life today. How amazing is that, to have a life, where you can do that.
Now, can you do that too? Of course you can, it’s your choice. What you do for a living, what you do for a vocation is your choice, nobody else’s choice, it’s yours. You have the option to start a business. You’ve got the option to start a new business, you have the option to change the business that you have, you have the option to join another company, you have the option to the kind of work you do every single day, to make a greater impact in this world.
But I can tell you something, you’re going to do your best work when you make an impact. You’re going to be the most inspired, when you make an impact. You’re going to feel the most fulfilled in your heart, when you make an impact. You’re going to leave a legacy, when you make an impact. Everything else you do, it’s going to have a lot more meaning, when you make an impact. So make sure that you take that one seriously.
Episode number 17, I spoke about emotional freedom. I said, you can have everything that I already spoke of, but you can still be miserable. How’s that possible? Well listen, there’s lots of miserable rich people, there’s lots of miserable people with a lot of time on their hands, and that’s why they’re miserable. We’ve got a neighbor here on a golf course, he walks around, he got a lot of money, he is retired, he’s got nothing to do, he is miserable. What a prison to get everything and to be miserable, we don’t want that. You want emotional freedom.
How do you get that? You do meaningful work. But the four things that will set you free motion more than anything else is following: Do meaningful work, relationships, focus on relationships; your partner, your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. That better work because that’s going to give you format. Someone sitting in a hum-drum relationship for years, fix it, make it better or get out. But living in no man’s land, listen, you can’t find happiness. Being in a destructive relationship even worse. Staying single, Hey, listen, it’s cool for a while, but we’re built for partnership, we’re built for companionship. At some point in your life, all of us have to figure out how to make relationships work.
I can tell you guys, since my wife Candy and I got together, my life has been better than what it’s ever been. I’ve got a lot of other privileges, but I’ve had those for a long time. Ever since I’ve been with my love, my Candy, everything has been amazing, it’s been incredible. Everybody comments on it, saying, since you guys got together, you’re like this couple that makes magic happen. We love each other so dearly, but we invest, we don’t have the TV on when we have dinner at night, we take the time to take the dogs for a walk together. Every Sunday, we have a check-in, we say, how’s it going with us? How’s it going with our relationship? Why do we do that? Because most people neglect, neglect kicks in. They don’t ask the question, Are you happy?
I was having this really cool chat with a friend of mine a while back when I was at the coast, and we’re talking about relationships and how that often they erode. You’ll often hear people saying, I’m just not that fulfilled, I’m just not happy. I was like, how does that happen, that one day, someone cheated, one day someone says I want to get divorced, but the other party doesn’t know about it. They’re saying, well, for a long time someone wasn’t happy. I said, but how does that happen? How does anybody make it happen, that for a long time you don’t know your partner’s happy? Shouldn’t you ask?
You see, the thing is nothing in life, unless it’s nurtured, can thrive. You’re not going to have a beautiful garden, unless there’s sunshine, water, and you pluck out the weeds. So relationships take time, they take investment. It means there are other things that you don’t do, because you prioritise your relationship, your relationship is your primary partner, I believe it will influence your quality of life more than anything else on this planet. There’s a lot of research to back up.
Did you guys know that even people that are in marriages where it’s a war zone, even those people live on average seven years longer than people that are single. Did you know that? It’s just we are built for community, we are built for partnership, but that’s not all. Relationship with your kids. How often do we hear the problems of today’s children is that they just sit behind the computer or the tablet? Listen, is the problem the kid who is sitting down the tablet, really, or is it the parent that’s letting the kid sit behind the tablet, is that the problem? Because who’s the parent in the house?
So in our house, there’s no TV when we have dinner. There’s parenting, and I think that parents need to become back to being parents and stop blaming society and stop blaming the kids of today, as though it’s a force outside of themselves and blaming technology, and look in the mirror and say, am I a good parent? Am I spending time with my kids? Am I teaching them what’s important to be taught? Am I present in their lives? Am I the kind of person that will be an example that they will follow? You need time for that and that’s why I say, time freedom is important.
Friendships, it’s important to have friendships. We meet some people that just don’t have friendship, and it’s so sad. Business relationships, the people around you, you need to learn how to relate to people, how to have good relationships that will impact your quality of life more than anything else. So do meaningful work, focus on relationships, focus on gratitude. Gratitude is powerful. We can have it all, but still complain we don’t. I fall into this trap sometimes. Sometimes I’m like bitching and whining about something. Then, sometimes I’ll take a step back and say, Niel, the things you complaining about, other people would die to have these problems. Then I feel terrible that I was complaining about it, so I go right back to gratitude. We have much more to be thankful for, than what we have to complain about.
Guys, the last thing is, learn to forgive and let go. Life is too short to live with resentment, with anger. There’s something alluring about being a victim of someone else, of saying I’m a victim of abuse. This person did this, that person did this, my parents, my kids, my wife, my partner… Listen, it’s not going to lead to a better life being a victim, complaining about the past. Bad things happen to good people all the time, but it happens to everybody.
Learn to forgive, learn to let go. One cannot drink poison and hope someone else is going to die. Resentment just spoils of quality of life. So learn to forgive, learn to let go, to live emotionally free. Emotional Freedom is a requisite to a great quality of life. Those are four ideas that can help you.
Episode number 18, I spoke about physical freedom. I gave you lots of good ideas on how to achieve a greater level of physical health and physical vibrance. The real lesson is, it doesn’t help you have everything else, but you’re a prisoner of your own body. So make sure that you’re preventative. That’s my to-do, be preventative, make sure you don’t get yourself into a position where your body doesn’t function well.
Go listen to that episode, go implement some of the ideas, I really spoke about how do you make it easy and how do you make it stick.
Guys, in summary, whatever you do in life, make sure that you’re climbing the right mountain. You have a finite amount of days, you have a finite amount of hours, you have a finite amount of energy available to you, and every choice you make leads you up a mountain. Make sure it’s the right mountain, make sure it’s the mountain of freedom, that gives you all of these other freedoms. You’re in charge, nobody else is in charge of your life. I’m in charge, I can’t blame anybody else, if my life doesn’t turn out the way that I want to. I’m going to make smart choices every single day.
So live as though your time is limited, live as though your time is counted and the sand of time is running out. Because it is, we just don’t know how long it’s going to last, but take freedom seriously. Live a life of freedom, live a life of balance, live a life of wholeness and a life that is rich with adventure, rich with meaning, rich with impact, rich with great relationships, rich with good health, and yes, rich with mountains and mountains and mountains of money. I’m a really firm believer in being rich. Honestly, I believe being rich, you can serve the world, you’ve got to give, there’s a lot that you can give, your mental and emotional resources are available to be a giver, because you’re not worried about money. You’ve got cash to give, you can help the needy, you can be a good example. Money is important, have a ton of it, not a little, a mountain of money. Be rich, you owe it to the world to create wealth. That is my rant about freedom.
Now, I want to know what you think. I want you to go to www.eliteinc.com/19 and give me some comments and feedback on the freedom series. Now that we’ve done this roundup, give me your thoughts, give me your inputs. What do you think we should add to the ideal freedom? Is there anything missing? What are your key insights? What are your key highlights? Most importantly, what have you done? And what do you plan to do? Because action is the miracle ingredient that takes ideas and turn it into good results. So let us know what your plan is.
So guys, please participate, comment on our blog. We want to know what you think. Go to www.eliteinc.com/19. Remember, if you like watching on YouTube, please hit the subscribe button. If you like listening on podcast, hit subscribe. Give us a rating, if you like the show, we’d like to know what you think.
Those of you guys who want to have a business that makes a lot of this possible, please go to www.eliteinc.com/19, book a 15-minute call with my team and let the show you how we can help you to take that next step forward.
Finally, I want to thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Time is your most valuable commodity and I don’t take it lightly, that you’re listening to these words right now, because I know you listened to the entire show. Thank you my friend. I’ll see you again on episode number 20.