Chandler Bolt [00:00:02] Hey, Chandler Bolt here and joining me today is my good friend Dan Martell. Dan is an entrepreneur. He’s an angel investor. He’s a highly sought after coach in the SAS industry, which, if you don’t know, stands for software as a service. He’s founded and scaled and successfully exited, so sold three technology companies within a ten year period. He’s also the author of the upcoming book. It’s called Buy Back Your Time. Dan’s been a personal friend of mine for years. It’s so exciting being on the sidelines here, seeing this book about to come out. We’ve been talking about this book for years, and so it’s just really cool to see that moment. Him and I have Hally and Cat Snowboarded for years. I mean, so many fun experiences. This is a guy that I learn from and look up to and just. Just view as a great person and a great friend and and within that. So I met this mastermind these couple of days. It is at the time of recording this interview, it is 7 a.m. and I am in a hotel and I would have canceled on anyone but did tell. Sounds excited for today’s conversation.
Dan Martell [00:01:04] Appreciate it, man. I’m super excited. You know, you know what I love best about your intro, Chandler, is that you explain what SAS stands for because like most people just assume the rest of the world knows that stands for software as a service. I love it. You did that. I appreciate it.
Chandler Bolt [00:01:18] I appreciate that, man. I you know, as a C level English student and a college dropout with ADHD, I think my superpower is taking comparable things and making them simple. And then my hope is, even in this conversation, kind of finding the things that people might not get and be the kind of the voice of the audience in the question. So I guess to start with this, buy back your time. We’re we’re we’re recording this a little while out from the launch. But why this book and how does this book fit in with the business?
Dan Martell [00:01:47] Yeah. I mean, the truth is, is is the buyback principle is something I’ve been teaching for a decade. It’s this simple philosophy that you shouldn’t hire people to grow your business, but you should hire people to buy back your time as a CEO. Real simple. Like I discovered this a long time ago. I came home one day. I was engaged, 27 years old, and my fiancee at the time drops her ring on the kitchen table and just says I’m done and just got emotional and said, I can’t do this anymore and literally just walked out of my life. So, you know, I was that entrepreneur like maybe some of you guys listening can relate to. That was just hustle and because that was the only gear I knew. And you know, the challenge for me in March, you know, Chandler, you and I share this trade is we’re willing to do the work. We’re willing to show up and put in the hours, get up at 7 a.m. and do the interview when neither of us actually have to do this anymore. We’ve been fortunate enough to have success to the level where, if we wanted to, we could just hire people to to do all the stuff we’re doing today. But what we can’t escape is the fact that we want to create and we want to we want to feel fulfilled. And, you know, we’ve learned that that that is always going to be part of the engine. So I literally went on a journey at 27 to figure out how can I produce in this world and create in business, but at the same time not be a horrible husband, father, friend, brother, etc.. And I mean, that’s that’s been the journey. And, you know, since then, I’ve just been super blessed not only to figure out how to integrate the business stuff, but most importantly even how to integrate the personal stuff. So a lot of people come to me today because they hear about my strategies around how it was me or the way I look at, you know, you know, building out teams and scaling companies. You know, I run to eight figure companies today. I’m the CEO both. But the truth is, is my executive team run both of them and I get the pleasure of producing and creating from a place of service and fulfillment that just feels great. And honestly, like the big thing and I start the book with this is just I want people to avoid the pain line. You know, most people when they get to about, you know, 1.2 million in revenue, it doesn’t employees, they hit this place where growth hurts. Right. And what I’ve discovered is entrepreneurs will not grow into pain. It’s like putting a knife to their throat. They’re not going to lean into it. And usually they do one of three things. They either sabotage their growth inadvertently, psychological hand grenades in their business. They don’t even realize they’re doing this. You things like slow and slow response to emails, making the wrong hire, they literally can’t even see these decisions. So sabotage. The other one is stall, making a conscious decision not to grow. But as you know, like our markets don’t want more from us, their team doesn’t want more opportunities from us. So like your stalling is literally starting a negative decline. Or they call me because they want to sell, you know, because it’s just, you know, the grass is supposed to be greener. This wasn’t supposed to be this way. And honestly, the buyback principle is a first principle to looking at your time so that you can create more and do it in a way that as you grow the business, you’ll actually have more time and quality of life and opportunity to build really cool stuff.
Chandler Bolt [00:04:51] Mm. That’s cool. And so what was, what was for you kind of the, what was I guess two parter, what was the why behind this book like? Do you feel like this is more of a. Passion project. Do you feel like this is core and vital to the business? Is this a brand play? Like, where does this fit in all the stuff that you’ve got going on?
Dan Martell [00:05:10] It’s it’s kind of like because I’ve been coaching high level software.
Chandler Bolt [00:05:14] Entrepreneurs for my whole.
Dan Martell [00:05:16] You know, my career up to this point. I mean, I gave my last company clarity in 2014. So for the last eight years, really, I mean, I took a couple of years off, kind of retired, and then came back as a coach. And now SAS Academy is one of the largest coaching companies, especially for SAS founders. But our goal is to be one of the best in the world. Buyback principle has just been a core framework within what I teach. But it but you couldn’t buy get access to it. It was like I don’t have anything outside of software entrepreneurs that that can actually learn from me. So, so when I sat down, actually, and I got to give credit to Ron Friedman, he’s actually my book CEO. I kind of joked that that’s his title, but he called me one day about two and a half years ago and said, like, you know, you’re one of the few YouTube channels I watch. Your stuff is like super full of like methodologies and strategy and tactics. Very few of the stuff you share I’ve heard before. You need a book. Like, it was. It was kind of crazy. He was like, What? What would need to be true for you to write a book? And I was like, you know, the truth is, is like, there’s no economic reason for me to do this. Like, business is good, and I just didn’t feel compelled. There wasn’t anything that it was like pulling on my heart. And we actually spent months just reviewing ideas that he heard me share, looking at different concepts. And finally, you know, we both agree like buyback back principle was the one that we felt the world needed the most. And then we kind of unpacked it a lot more and I just I just fell in love with it. And then essentially Ron became the driver. I partnered with him and listened his agent and hired Lisa, our our writer at the time to work on the book proposal. And literally that I use the buyback principle to write the book. Like I said, look, I don’t have the time to do this. I’m busy with these other two companies. It would be irresponsible for me to to go all in because, you know, writing a great book and going to market and promoting it is a I mean, I’ve talked to a lot of people like Joey Coleman and many others, and it’s like a full time effort. And I see it because I have a whole team now supporting me. But that’s that’s where it came from. It was it was really like I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I didn’t want to write one until I felt like I actually had something to say that was unique. And and that’s we’re at today. So it’s not a I think it’s a halo effect from a personal brand point of view, but definitely isn’t directly aligned with software, even though like, you know, 20% of the examples in the book, obviously it comes from from software or clients, but you know, really great community to learn from fastest growing companies in the world, technology, Silicon Valley, that kind of stuff. MM But yeah, that’s, that’s the motivation for the book is I just wanted it to create something that nine software entrepreneurs could learn from me because I didn’t have anything prior to that.
Chandler Bolt [00:07:58] That’s great. Little halo effect will be on say it builds it builds the brand outside of the SAS stuff core to your business. But then also it’s a core methodology that can help your customers and grow grow your reach and I mean massive YouTube channel. So guys, check out the YouTube channel if you have it before. It’s really, really good stuff. It’s it’s some of the only YouTube videos I watch at least that are educational, I think. Yeah, yeah.
Dan Martell [00:08:25] It is entertaining a little bit sometimes, but that’s my style.
Chandler Bolt [00:08:28] Yeah. Oh, man. So unpack that a little bit more. And then you mentioned a little bit on how how you use the buyback principles. Write the book and I will circle back to that a little later in the interview. What was your why now? I talk about in my book, it’s like you need a why that you’re writing the book and then you need a why now. And I know just from being a friend of yours, like we’ve talked, I’ve been nudging you for years. You’ve bet you’ve been talking about dude, you you’ve.
Dan Martell [00:08:52] Shared so much. I’ve literally bought everything Chandler’s got, you know, and is just fighting like. Yeah, a book was always in the in the plan, but I think why now was I just I’m at a place in my life where I more and more of my day is is about creation. And and I like the challenges of new creative forms. You know, when I started coaching, you know, coaching was kind of a new art form. I invested in 50 plus companies and it buys hundreds of companies. So I had kind of a coaching structure, but for the most part it wasn’t like really performance based in like mindset. So like even starting coaching was a way for me to build a skill set that I thought would be really valuable as I continued to build the empire, which I talk about in the book, you know, Build Your Empires, the subtitle and then for the book process was just like I’ve been writing down that I am a prolific writer in my five minute journal. I literally, you know, shout out to Alex and the team there. I’m in a journal because I like to set the intention around identity way before, you know, I’m a triathlete, I’m an Ironman athlete. Like these are things I wrote down four years prior to actually ever. Doing my first full Ironman. So, yeah, I’ve just I’ve been I’ve been, you know, fans of some of the greatest prolific authors. And I knew someday when, when the timing. Right. I would start that journey. And, and that’s that’s the beginning. And I do plan on writing dozens of books in my career, too, to support the entrepreneur journey and personal development and leadership and really just like codify the things that I’ve learned that I know are battle tested, that work in, in the current world that that founders, you know, give me feedback that say, oh, that’s a unique perspective. I’d love for you to unpack that more. And I think that’s that’s the power of a book.
Chandler Bolt [00:10:36] That’s great. So, so shifting more into into creation mode. And then it sounds like you partnered with, with Ron and his agent. What how did you get the book deal? Any any big lessons learned or takeaways from that process?
Dan Martell [00:10:50] Yeah. And I’m, I’m an open book, right. So, um, pun intended that pun got in there. Yeah. Yeah. So lessons learned there. You know, it seems like in today’s market I did a traditional publishing deal with Penguin Random House portfolio as an imprint. Even that like what is an imprint? I’m still confused. Finally figured this out after, you know, two years. But you know, so lessons learned. A lot of these traditional publishers are looking for built in audiences. I think the deal I got, which I don’t I’m not sure if I’m not allowed to say because how it works. But you know, it is a multi six figure advance for first time author. But I mean, you know, when you look at the the the book proposal and just the marketing section, the size of my emails and social media presence and stuff like, you know, whatever risk profile that they look at, it is a no brainer. And honestly, I met with several of them, Lucinda, my agent, an incredible job of, you know, really creating that interest and demand. And I had super fun conversations with a bunch of different publishers from like Wiley to HarperCollins, like you name them. I talked to them, which is really fun, but I guess I’m just a natural like person that gets, you know, enthusiastic about my projects and like, I don’t know where it is, just one site. So I need to explain this, but this is probably all wrinkly, but this is a fake vision. This is like a vision board of the book. Okay. So it’s the New York Times homepage made up Canadian, not the Revolution concept. Magic, my buddy Teller bullshit. It gave me this two years ago, and I’ve been staring at this thing in my desk. I just had it out because I actually shot a video for the sales team at Penguin because I was like, got like, this is why it’s going to be a success. So I’ve been visualizing bestselling book Everything for two years. So when I was doing these calls, I was literally saying, look, yes, I have the audience. Yes, I think the the the the the the content is going to be absolutely amazing and the stories and all that stuff. But here’s why. Like, this is the why, right? Like I have people that see in me stuff I don’t sometimes see myself and I’ve been staring at this thing and I pull this up and I go, If you think I’m going to do anything less than be a wild success, because my friends actually called it out and created this like, that’s a fake page. He worked for the copywriter dude. Bald faces in there, probably. And see, that’s the bottom line.
Chandler Bolt [00:13:27] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t know. I mean, smug over here, this is like a movie.
Dan Martell [00:13:33] Trailer, and I go on this epic trip every year. So, yeah, that was like, the thing that I think really got all the publishers, they were like, okay, this guy’s a little intense and he seems like he’s going to make this happen because they’re taking a risk on the person. At the end of the day, they’re not going to allow a bad book to go out. They’re going to have their creative comments. But can the author do what they say they’re going to do in the proposal? And I think everybody said resounding yes, created a bidding process and then went with the publisher. We felt aligned with kind of our needs and what we were trying to accomplish.
Chandler Bolt [00:14:08] Got it. That’s awesome. Super small question. Just to backtrack for the audience, and you said you finally learned what an imprint is. What is it? As you understand it.
Dan Martell [00:14:17] My understanding is it’s almost like a subcategory division of publishers that work on specific types of book, that have a specific economic structure, because you can have an imprint that’s maybe call it a hybrid within a penguin Random House. But it’s and they might focus on business book or personal development or whatever, but their separate like portfolio might or Penguin may have a different imprint that that does things differently. And it’s just a different group of people that have a it’s kind of like a fund in investing, right? Different funds have different thesis, but they’re owned by the major investors. So yeah, that’s the way I think about it.
Chandler Bolt [00:14:55] That’s great and helpful for people who are thinking about going to get a book deal. I feel like it. So a couple of question, a couple more questions on the methodology of getting to where you’re, you know, you kind of gotten to today. And then I want to I want to unpack this this the principle of the book within the book and within your life a little bit more what I want to say. You work with a ghostwriter or two in the past had not so great experience restarted kind of all that people come to me all the time Dan And they’re like, but come on, Gemma, like, I just want to hire one of your ghostwriter.
Dan Martell [00:15:30] You know, where all the skeletons are. Yeah. Sounds like, you know, you get to these emails.
Chandler Bolt [00:15:35] And I feel like a year later it’s like, Aha, man. Yeah, maybe not. And so I just love to hear your experience in any lessons learned for that person who’s like, I’ve got to hire a ghostwriter. I want to buy back my time. What? What did you learn? Where did you land?
Dan Martell [00:15:51] Yeah, I’ll. I’ll tell you the quick back story. The original attempt to writing a book was probably five years. I literally thought if I would just wake up and write for 4 hours a day for a month, I’d have a book that was stupid. After three days, I realized like, Wow, a this doesn’t make sense. I didn’t even have a book out. I would just like start and write and write and write big. I’ll edit it into something cohesive, and that was more of a software growth book and then so shelved that think that was like when I first reached out to you and you know and others and they were like, Oh, well, you got to start with an outline. And then you should probably, you know, like grab all of the content or like read like talk it out loud. You can even do a presentation and transcribe it and then edit it. And then so I tried that. That didn’t work. And again, it was just the time I started looking at going like, Whoa, this is a big time commitment that and I then I hired, you know, one of these, you know, people that will get your book written right. So I’m not going to call them out. They’re amazing. But, you know, at the end of the day, everybody’s experience is different. And this is probably the lesson that they should have pushed back. I literally bought two books at the same time. I said, I’m going to do a software growth book and I’m going to do a business growth bar. And they’re like, Yeah, no problem, you know, 25 or 30 grand each. And I’m like, Here you go. Why are them the money, dude? I got the first, so I did all the interviews. It was like 12 or 15 hours of interviews, you know, and then more hours to do the outline. And when I got the first draft of it, my like heart sank. I was like, They added details that are just not true. They took too much creative freedom. They didn’t transcribe and edit. It felt like they just listened and then wrote from their perspective and point of view. And it didn’t sound like me. And it was just like when they were like, Yeah, I know this is normal. Like, sit down and just like take a first pass at reading this. And I’m like, okay. So now I get to spend 8 hours reading my own book, which I already like. That’s not fun. Reading is hard for me. I have crazy ADHD, so it’s like it needs to be really compelling. I’m like, it was super not compelling as I’m reading it the whole time. I’m like, judging myself, judging the words. And eventually and I tried. I literally was like, I did it first pass. I gave them notes. They actually hired a different ad. They actually hired a different writer to go through my interviews and give me another version that they from a technical writer that may maybe understood the content more. Because I was a software growth book and I got it back. And again, same, same response. Heart sank. Like just because there’s something about a book that feels so permanent versus a video, I can delete a video where I said something stupid on YouTube. Once the book’s out, it’s out. And like that was that was the thing where I was writing with my buddy Gerrit, my videographer. And, you know, he’s he’s an artist, he’s a creator. And he goes, dude, if you’re not feeling it, man, you should put that art out to the world. And I and I kiboshed it, so I swallowed the costs. Just shut it down. Let them keep the money. Obviously got a refund on the second book. We didn’t start but to do two books in one year, they should have said, Hey, that’s kind of stupid. You know me. I’m like, Hey, I want to do stuff that most people don’t. And then and then. So I had this like PTSD from those two false starts. So when I started the third one, that’s why it required a whole different approach. And, and that’s where Ryan’s feedback to me like, hey, he just wanted me to write a book. And then it was like, you need to be the driver of this. Like I literally am talent in this relationship. He’s the driver. And then we had Lisa write the book proposal, but then she got busy on another project so she can work with us on the The Real. The book had a false start with the writer, you know, just process, right? Like just, you know, I think we had a great outline and then we started writing and we got the first three chapters and I was just like, Yeah, this is not my voice. I don’t there’s some core concepts missing. And I could just project if I spent more time with the writer than it would continue. And even like the book outline, I did the outline then Cam a videographer, one of my other ones, Sam, go through all my catalog of videos, clip and put in transcribe. So, so the book is is there there’s no like there’s a ghostwriter in the sense of like more of an editor, but it’s my content and even at that it didn’t land. So I just, I just went back to my team to to write in Lucinda and said, hey, you know, can we can we, can we find another writer? We interviewed three I could literally use my my recruiting process because. Originally they just found the writer, which is great. And it’s so funny because like a lot of these people will say, I worked on this book, in this book, in this book, and then I like this. The second iteration of hiring a writer I like called Referrals of People I Knew. And I’d be like, Did they write this book? They’re like, No, they edited the book.
Chandler Bolt [00:20:16] Oh.
Dan Martell [00:20:17] Like and or like.
Chandler Bolt [00:20:19] Read it on.
Dan Martell [00:20:20] This book. Yeah, they edited the non like a version that didn’t have swear words or something like you know, like it wasn’t, is very loosey goosey or they were like not the primary writer or secondary writer and they would just take credit for stuff. And so I learned that. And then finally what I did is I forced an agile writing process, and that’s just me, because I also know that I will write dozens of books and I need to create a rhythm that will will sustain the way I create long term. So I was willing to push back. And trust me, the team was like, This is not how books are written. Usually they’re like, you know, we sit down, we do all this stuff and then we write the book and then you get it back. And I’m like, No, we’re going to spend time on the on each chapter. We’re going to put all the stories in the through lines and the research and all that stuff, and we’re going to work on one chapter at a time. So the way the rhythm worked was tweak rhythm. We, we did interviews on the videos that was transcribed so that they could fill in the blanks they would write that week. The next week I would get the previous two weeks work. I would take that, edit it, mark it up, then I would have a call with them at the end of the week to give them feedback on the edited version. The next week we would start over on the next chapter and that was the agile rhythm. So essentially we were producing a chapter every two weeks that was like that could not stray too far from what I wanted because it was me, it was my transcriptions, it was filling in the blanks, it was adding the nuance. And then there was to do list for my writer and my and the researcher to go out and get additional stuff. Because the way I told Paul, my writer who’s awesome is I want a third of the stories are stories. A third of the stories are my stories. A third are stories, client stories, and then a third is stories, research stories like pull and external frameworks. One of the things I did that I think your your listeners would appreciate is that because I’ve highlighted every kid like I read on my Kindle, so I buy physical books, I write over 5000 books a buy the Kindle, and I buy the physical book to put in my library. I have like three libraries in my house, but I had all the highlights in Kindle and I had a programmer because I couldn’t find a tool that actually did it the way I wanted to extract all my highlights. And then I would for each chapter. And that was some homework I did, which was go through the things I was talking about and find quotes of people that have written books that I appreciate and reference that now that helped in a lot of ways, helped with getting blurbs for my book. I would reference people that I wanted to reach out to for blurbs. It helped with building an influencer list. Yeah, it made sure that the quotes were, like, really meaningful to me because everybody’s going to resonate with different sets of words based on who they are. And it was super authentic, so it was fun is as I would get these chapters back, I would just get super excited because it was it was more aligned with what I wanted to do. And and you told me this, I remember you were like, Hey, Dan, like, talk it out, edit it like you said, talk it, transcribe it, edit it. You know, the whole strategy guys teach me. It’s still part of the process. I just wanted to figure out how could I skip that? So the way I did it is I did talk it out. It’s just my I already captured the video because of the the world I’m in. And then my writer did the editing part first pass. I got it and it was just a manageable chunk. And essentially, you know, I think there’s but there might’ve been 15. We’re down to like 13 chapters because the book kept going like this too. This, finally this. But yeah, it was about two weeks per chapter and it was and it and it hit like, you know, by the time the whole book came together, it was like, wow, okay, I’m really proud of this piece of work.
Chandler Bolt [00:23:48] And that’s a good feeling. What a good feeling. Especially after that. After that journey. I was so scared. Yeah, yeah. It’s like not I’m not restarting this process again. I love the thing you are you talked on on piecing together highlights and I think so. I mean, I think that’s such a great process to include truly meaningful quotes, like you said, versus a lot of times it’s just like, what are the quotes that I’ve heard recently as I’m writing this book? There’s a huge recency bias and what actually gets clicked in, it’s what’s capturing your attention during that six month creative process. I think that’s a really, really cool process. Let’s switch gears a little bit. You talked about this in the beginning and of use of the principles of buying back your time and how you use that with the book. And then I think we talked about ghostwriting stuff, which I think for a lot of people would be the, oh, let me just skip to the punch line by that time, but pay a ghostwriter $30,000 like that didn’t work created in the process. Instead, buying back your time by creating that process that you think will you’ll be able to use to do dozens of books. Can you maybe unpack the concept a little bit further and what are other ways? That you’ve used the concept of the book throughout the creation and marketing process.
Dan Martell [00:25:05] Yeah. So the, the buyback loop, which I, you know, is the core framework, which is audit transfer fill, right? So like no matter what you’re working on your business or your life, a book, you know, if you’re looking to buy back your time, you got to audit your calendar to figure out where you’re actually allocating time on the book. In my case, transfer it. So like what would need to be true for somebody else to take this piece over and then and then fill it? Like, if I give up that time, what am I going to add to it? Because I think a lot of people get inspired by the four hour workweek. But you and I and this is what I love about you, Chandler, is is we’re both like empire builders. Like we will buy back our time, but not to go sit on a beach we actually like are looking to create more value and and learn and develop and putting ourselves in those positions. So, so really it was like, how do I fill my time with things that are going to make the book even more successful that are unique to my abilities, right? So that’s the audit transfer, fill my back loop and it never stops. So as the book kind of developed, I say I would say, you know, bringing my writer Paul into the conversations directly with my publisher. So like really giving them direct access and setting the parameters for what needs to be true for that those outcomes to be positive. I brought in a copywriter, so I brought in my copywriter, Chris Raghu to shout out to Chris. He was, you know, he’s been working with me for a while, so he understood my my tone very well. And because of the business I’m in, we actually have a documented like Here’s how to talk like Dan. But it turns out how I talk and write emails is not how you should write a book. So there’s a little give and take there in regards to how you flesh out ideas and communicate. So, so Chris spent five days editing the book at the very end to add some punch to it, to really crystallize, you know, the way I say things and, and get all the prose is in like the minutia. So like having him available, investing in that, then it was art, you know. So like bringing in I worked with this guy, Simon Bowen, who is one of the best model designers in the world, and he doesn’t do books. It was just like like he teaches businesses how to use models to sell. And I was like, Simon, I need you to do like look at the book and work with me to design models per chapter so that it’s absolutely visual that connects to the content. So that was really fun. So bought back time, they’re rich, my designer. So I brought in rich and kind of I mean you guys are going to post some not so. This is how crazy I am. Okay, so, like, just just on cover design. This is a bag full of book jackets. Okay. So, like, not only did I, like, analyze, I went into books like, this is this is just a small pile of book jackets, okay? From all the top books, I’m just gonna throw this all over my desk. I mean, that part is dense creativity. Like, you know, asking Betty, who’s our house manager, to, like, go get all these books or take them off my shelves, bring them into my office. And then I sit there and I like nerd out on this, and I’m like, Oh, there’s cameras book double, double. And, you know, the magic of thinking big and Michael Lewis’s, you know, and just like really like analyzing that like how they did the layout and then but then, you know, giving that feedback to Rich, my designer, and letting him work with the publisher to design the book jacket, cover the hardcover and, and even the layout of the content inside. Right. Just, I mean, I’m always thinking about like, what is what is the thing that I love to do that creates the most value? But can I package it up in a way that somebody else can take it? Obviously, you gotta be talented, but then run with it. Right? So like, if anything, I’m really good at this. I teach it in the book. It’s called Transformational Leadership, which is clear outcomes, clear measurement and coaching them to success. But sometimes why you buy back your time is to go invest in the skills to become like knowledgeable about something. Jacket cover design. To then be able to lead another team to get an outcome for you. And that was a big part of it. And then we could dove into the promotion side. But yeah, I mean, I’m always analyzing my calendar, looking how I get stuff off my calendar and then filling it up with stuff that’s high value.
Chandler Bolt [00:29:05] Mm hmm. And so you said transformational leadership. You said clear outcomes. Was it clear metrics and then coaching them?
Dan Martell [00:29:13] Yeah. I’ll give you the short, short version. Most people lead to transactional leadership, which is tell them what to do. It’s called tell next check. Tell them what to do. Tell them what to do. Or check that it got done. How much to do next. Okay. So tell next check or sorry, tell, check next. That’s transactional leadership. Transformational leadership is clear outcomes. So I don’t tell people what to do. I tell them what it looks like when it’s done. Then I say, Here’s the things I’m going to be measuring along the way so that you can’t get off track. And then I’m going to meet with you on a frequency and review the output and coach you towards a better outcome. Right. And I have a whole framework for how to do the coaching, but think about writing a book. It’s like, okay, Paul, we’re writing a bestselling book. That’s the outcome. Like, the thing is going to sit between E-Myth and four hour work week. Like, I was very visual. It’s going to be reference like good the great like I, I was very clear on the intention, the motion, the focus of what we’re trying to do here. Okay. So as you’re writing, you got to understand, this is what we’re doing. This isn’t just a project for you. This is a movement. Okay. That’s the outcome measure is how many words per week are we producing towards that goal? Right. Pretty straightforward. We might even do. You know, another measurement I gave him is like grade three level English because somebody said that and it’s true. It’s funny because I read my friend’s books that are a little heavy, kind of like university style writing, and I’m like, Ooh, I could see how a lot of people would not resonate with these big words. So like, again, that’s another measurement. It needs to be this and needs to be this, it needs to be this. And then coaching and success. That was the rhythm we created where we met every week, right on the current chapter. And then the next week on the feedback from the last or the new chapter. New chapter, last chapter. And that’s where I would coach and I would say, you know how you wrote this, okay? This is the this is what you’re missing. This, this, and this. It’s a punch. Every every ending of a chapter in every end of a section has to end with a recap punch. And I would give them examples. And that was the coaching side. And that allows you what happens with transformational leadership is that you then build a team underneath you that can produce. Right. Most people spend very little time and I can prove it just by looking at their calendar, actually developing their people. They manage projects, but they have no time in their calendar to actually develop and train their team. And the end of the day, you’re only going to grow to the level of your team and they’re only going to grow at a level of where you’re at and you’re going to training them. If they’re on your team.
Chandler Bolt [00:31:32] That’s great. And what does that look like in your calendar? Is that one on ones? Is that something different? Like what? What’s the time in your calendar where it’s Oh, that’s developing the team?
Dan Martell [00:31:42] There’s a lot. So I do because I most people get stuck when so most people can’t grow past three K because they don’t know how to delegate. That’s you can be a great doctor, but if you know how to delegate, you’re going to just be a high paid doctor specialist. Then the next level of of ceiling is about 2 million because you got to learn how to delegate and you can probably get to 2 million, but that’s where the pay line kicks in and your life sucks and you’re like, I’m making less money working twice as much, and I just don’t wanna do this. The, the, the skill to learn at that level, which is most people that struggle is learning to work through people. Right. So the mistake is actually to take all of this on. So what I do is I focus on my direct reports. Nobody should have more than five or seven direct reports. You know, one of my investors with Travis from. Uber Travis Kalanick. Obviously negative sentiment in the market today, but at the time incredible person to learn from. And he said it to me because they grew to 4000 employees in four years and I was like, how did you hire 4000 people in four years? And he goes, I only have five people that report to me in my jobs. Wake up and make sure that they have more bandwidth. So the degree that I want to do more, I need to make sure they have more. So either I, I have to develop them and or I get to find somebody else that has the capabilities to create more bandwidth so that we can get more done. So this concept of management bandwidth is a big one, right? Yeah. Yeah. So so I focus on those five, but I’m also the CEO. So we do senior leadership training. So we have executive leadership team. Those are my direct reports that we have senior leadership team. Those are their direct team leaders, essentially. And then we have individual contributors and you can have multiple layers, but that usually breaks down for most companies pretty clearly. And I’ll do definitely want to end every two weeks with my team for an hour. It’s all written down in a process. We we’re big on feedback. I teach it in the book. There’s a whole chapter on leadership in my book because I realized that if you just hire people and you don’t think properly, you’re just going to get frustrated and fired them, and then the whole cycle keeps going. So, yes, my, my, my publisher actually said, like, this is a book. We actually had about 13 frameworks. And he’s like, That’s a book, let’s keep the top three. And so that might be something I do in the future, which is actually I don’t know. Chandler, if most of your clients realize this, but a lot of times when you write a book, you’re, you’re identifying number two and three. Yeah. As part of that process. Big time. So I did the outline.
Chandler Bolt [00:34:01] Yeah, yeah. Hey, I’ll jump in here quick or what did you want to pitch that thought?
Dan Martell [00:34:06] I would just say I coach my direct reports. I do senior leadership training around the people side of things, mission, vision, values, time management than my CFO manages more the like operational poker type stuff. And then I do CEO office hours where it looks like Q&A, but it’s really a way for me to install values and mission and principles into individual contributors. And that’s a great rhythm.
Chandler Bolt [00:34:33] Cool. That’s great. And okay. For those who aren’t familiar, objective key results, Google kind of principal metrics that matter, I think. John Dore Maybe.
Dan Martell [00:34:44] Yeah. John Dore Measurement matters. So yeah, great framework.
Chandler Bolt [00:34:48] Too with you know, I’ve got a bajillion more questions and I’ve got time, so I’ll just ask one or two more as we wrap up here. You’re really great. You’ve mentioned frameworks multiple times and I feel like one of your superpowers is creating great frameworks to make meaningful content. It’s something that when I did the second edition of this book, Mike, how do I channel my inner Dan Martell and make me make frameworks to where this is not just helpful, but it’s memorable? And so can you maybe unpack how do you do that? Or what’s the framework for for for authors who want to do that to make their book more memorable?
Dan Martell [00:35:24] Yeah, I think I think what I learned a long time ago is in the information consulting services world, your product is your methodology. So think of like Andersen Consulting, Bain and many others. The thing they sell is the process that is unique to them that people look and go, Oh, you have a unique opinion and a thing on how to solve churn, customer retention or growth or competitive analysis or whatever it is. Right? So like as a software guy, I was designing software, which is architectures and database design. So like visual modeling was just part of what I did and I didn’t realize doing that for 15 years taught me this skill set that just happens to be really valuable when you’re teaching and coaching specifically. The way I design models is a Simon Bowen really was like the the Dan before meeting Simon and then there’s the Dan after Simon. So it’s kind of like full credit to Simon because I would just draw models without understanding the connection and correlation between different geometry and words and dimensions where he gave me that new kind of upgrade. But the way I do it, I was doing it this morning. I’ve got an event coming up and I wanted to teach a new framework and I’ll just show it to you. But essentially I just write down a bunch of words. It’s not finished, but I just write down. It doesn’t even matter what’s on there, but I just write down a bunch of stuff. And this is about competition and this is like literally like 7 minutes of me just jotting stuff down. But I write down the words to explain the concept. And I always want to think about like, what should they avoid and what should they look for? And then I figure out based on it, like, and even in that template I created for myself, has different geometries, right? Triangles, circle, squares, quadrants. And then as I look through the words, I try to figure out, you know, what is the natural like, what am I talking about here? And there’s process models. We can get nerdy about this. I mean, there’s there’s not enough time. We could literally spend five days on just designing models, but that’s the way I do it, I. Write stuff down and think like I use it as a cue to tell a story and a point I think about what what is the unique perspective I have around this thing, positive and negative. And if I have four points, then obviously probably a quadrant five three. It’s probably a Venn diagram. If I have more like 12 or 15, I might use the diagram was what Simon called a genius model and and it’s an art form and I absolutely love it. And it’s something that definitely is in the book and definitely something that I think is worth developing, because when you give somebody a model and you name it and I always joke, you have to underline it. Even there I like underlined the top word. You give them a handle and it’s now a thing that and this is my test for a model is if I teach it to you, will you be able to share it to somebody else? So the buyback loop is audit transfer, fill, it’s a loop and it never stops. It keeps going into the degree you get good at auditing, transferring and filling your calendar. You will grow and unlock new levels of productivity and in revenue, honestly. So yeah, my, my philosophy is like is it, is it memorable? Did I name it properly? Did I give it the right dimension to use the right shape? And that’s my task is if in a week I teach it to your audience and I say, Hey, do you remember the model for the buy back loop? And they go, Yeah, it’s blah blah. But they can say those three things. I’m like, Nailed it.
Chandler Bolt [00:38:52] That’s great. That’s really great. And even just let looking at my notes from this interview, it’s I feel like two of the things that I jotted down out of a handful of bullets is the buyback loop and then transformational versus transactional leadership, which I can only assume that those are two key frameworks kind of book kind of in the back. Yeah. Well, hey, parting question for you in knowing what you know now and then, we’ll talk about where can people go by the book? All that good stuff. No. Knowing what you know now, what would be your parting piece of advice for the Dan from years ago before writing this book or the other Dan’s out there who were thinking about writing their first first book and maybe successful entrepreneur like, do I have the time? How can I better buy my time? All that stuff.
Dan Martell [00:39:33] Yeah, I think there’s a whole debate between traditional versus self-published for a lot of reasons. For where I’m at in my career, traditional made sense because a I got an advance that would cover all the the production costs in the market. The core marketing cost definitely doesn’t cover my time. Like this is the thing that I’ve, I’ve been kind of playing this dance with my publisher where they’re like, We want you to do this. And I go, That makes zero sense, right? Like even, you know, reaching out to two friends to do bulk orders, like what I’m offering to do. The bulk order is not an in-person keynote because it just doesn’t correlate to kind of where I’m at and kind of the buyback rate, which I and that’s another concept in the book that, you know, once you understand your time’s worth, it makes it really easy to make decisions. But I would just say, you know, for especially people that don’t have an audience, I got lucky that the process of building a coaching business and the marketing behind that created an audience that now I’m able to launch a successful book project. So I would say, you know, if anybody is aspiring to write a book and you don’t have an email list and I have a one of my best friends right now is finishing up his book and he has zero audience online and luckily he’s got friends like me that are willing to push it, which is another thing like, hey, build those relationships because that’s another thing. I just got lucky. It’s who I am, you know me. Like I’m a social dude, so I can now call in on those favors. But yeah, I would just say think about the distribution because that is the hardest part of the book. Writing it, finding a ghostwriter. It actually seems to be maybe it’s just my circle friends, but it seems to be easier and easier to find. Folks don’t double everything you estimate. It’s almost like writing software like whatever you think time I just kind of take just double it probably costs in personal time as well but don’t you know at the end of the day fall in love with the process is not the outcome. And for me the process and knowing that I’m going to write dozens of books and investing in upfront and building this rhythm and building my team to be able to do next one and half the time in the one after that and a third of the time and double the quality. It’s. It’s worth it.
Chandler Bolt [00:41:42] Yeah, that’s great, man. That’s awesome. I can’t wait to frickin read this book. It’s not out yet, so I don’t have a copy.
Dan Martell [00:41:49] But damn working will be out when this goes live though.
Chandler Bolt [00:41:51] Yes. Right. Yes, yes. Sorry.
Dan Martell [00:41:52] So perfect.
Chandler Bolt [00:41:53] When if you’re listening to this right now or watching this, the book is out, which is a perfect segue way. Dan, where can people go to buy the book.
Dan Martell [00:42:03] Go to buy back your Time.com that will redirect you to different retailers. And if you buy the book through the retail and then come back to me an email me a receipt, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff I’m doing for readers, but yeah, buy back your time.com and it’ll be on all the, you know, the Amazons and others. But I’d prefer people come to my site so we can start a relationship and I can give you the. There’s a. A whole level of stuff that didn’t make the book because we had to reduce it from 120,000 words down to 50 that I think some people would really enjoy getting.
Chandler Bolt [00:42:35] Guys https://www.buybackyourtime.com/, grab a copy of the book. It’s everything that Dan creates is is meaningful and extremely helpful. And I’ve been listening to and learning from this guy for a long time, both in person, from his YouTube videos, from his content. So this can be an awesome book. Dan, you’re the man. Appreciate you.
Dan Martell [00:42:57] Thanks, Jane. I appreciate it.
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