030 - The Side Hustle

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0 - 31 Jonathan Mendonsa Welcome to episode 30 of the Choose FI radio podcast today we're going to be interviewing Alan Donegan from pop up business school out of the U.K. the same way that the FI community has turned personal finance on its head. Alan is doing this with his side hustle and I could not be more thrilled to introduce you to what I'm calling the unspoken lever of the F-I community. Your side hustle might start today. Welcome to the show. OK. So let's go and get this thing going. Brad here with me in the studio and also I have Allen joining us from the U.K.. Hi Alan how you doing today.
31 - 34 Alan Donegan Excellent. The sun is shining in England and life is good.
34 - 40 Jonathan Mendonsa You guys get like two or three days of sunshine a year so that's amazing. Did you buy your lottery ticket yet.
40 - 41 Alan Donegan I think I need to.
41 - 45 Jonathan Mendonsa So you just got back from Texas and I think they overfed you from what I was seeing.
45 - 50 Alan Donegan The pancakes were insanely bad. I think I need to go on a diet after the number of pancakes and maple syrup I had.
50 - 52 Brad Barrett Everything's bigger in Texas right.
52 - 56 Alan Donegan Everything's bigger in Texas including the barbecue food which was amazing.
56 - 68 Jonathan Mendonsa So yeah you were the first one to call us out on failing to discuss the side hustle on our pillars of FI episode and Brad and I felt duly called out and we wanted to address this.
68 - 103 Alan Donegan Yeah. So I think what I saw from the pillars of fire which was really interesting. I love that episode. It's you kind of got three main angles you've got increase your income, decrease your spending which gives you the gap in between that you invest, and then it's getting the best returns from the investment. And I think there was an awful lot of focus on the reduced spending which it should be because it's such a critical element. There's a lot of focus on how do we invest for the long term. But there wasn't much focus on is there a way to increase your income to get there faster or even reduce your expenses by bringing in some money from a side hustle which can get you to F-I a lot faster.
103 - 137 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah and I think that deepens the message. I think it's one that a lot of other personal finance shows really they just don't go there. It's a very one dimensional and I love that you're going to be able to help us with this because it is so valuable and we have people in wildly different income brackets going from anywhere from half a million dollars a year down to maybe less than $20000 a year. And the tools or the levers that they're going to rely on is it different. And I think that by taking a period of time to talk about this vehicle that is so powerful it really does expand the message and give people options that maybe they hadn't considered.
137 - 160 Alan Donegan And I think it's great you have all these different levers and I love the explanation of what it is because I think you start off with the basic ones and you reduce the mobile phone bill you reduce the satellite bill though for the television you kind of pull these different levers. And once you've done that you've got some space to think about what else can I pull. And I think this is one of the ones that you can get onto a little bit later it can add a whole new level of debt.
160 - 209 Brad Barrett And Jonathan and I certainly have firsthand experience with this. Just very simply with choose FI and for me with my other my other web site that I've started in the last handful of years that we have formed something just very recently that choose FI literally did not exist six months ago and now it's this podcast that tens of thousands of people are listening to. So and we did it with minimal amounts of money and just hard work. Mostly Jonathan on learning how to podcast and learning how to create a website. So I mean if we can do it just from scratch. There are many many thousands of people listening to this who can do the same and they can find something that actually interests them right because you hear so many times the cautionary tale. It seems like in FI everybody is running from something they're running from a job that they dislike. But I think Alan you would argue that you can run to something you can run to something that you have a passion for.
209 - 233 Alan Donegan And I think what I found really interesting in the Ecuador Chatauqua which I went to last November was that a lot of people were moving away from work but they've not figured out entirely what they were moving towards. And one of the Branden's Brandon the mad fientist said was that if you think you're just going to read more books in retirement you're going to get bored very quickly. You need to have something to do afterwards.
233 - 269 Brad Barrett Yeah and that's a real existential issue right. I mean this is truly what we want to do with our lives so as you so appropriately said there you just can't you can't read books and exercise and take walks and think that's going to be a fully satisfied life. Let's say you need to find something to do that maybe impacts the world in some way or benefit someone. And to me that's been from my perspective at least the biggest benefit of Choose FI psychologically that. I know that even though at the end of the day it's just me and Jonathan talking to ourselves. We're actually impacting the world in some way and that's a very satisfying thing psychologically.
269 - 298 Alan Donegan And that was part of the fascinating bit we got out of the Ecuador Chatauqua was actually we went there for financial investing advice that neither Brandon the mad fientist or Mr. Money Mustache Pete gave us that Pete's talk was about happiness. And two of the elements he spoke about were learning and growth. So you're learning something you're growing and having a purpose and that's a big part of happiness and really what we're trying to do is use our money to buy long term happiness.
298 - 309 Jonathan Mendonsa I think that's a parallel way of saying if you're just using your money just to buy stuff. It's so short sighted. There's no there there. But if you use it to buy freedom and by extension happiness. Now that's a conversation worth having.
309 - 312 Alan Donegan Absolutely. And I know where I want to put my money.
312 - 338 Brad Barrett Agreed entirely then it's not buying happiness as much as buying the freedom to pursue that happiness and I think that really is this framework question that a lot of us are grappling with and it's almost not to play this up but it's the meaning of life. What makes you happy and how can you benefit the world and by extension yourself. So this is a fascinating and far reaching conversation for sure and I'm very excited to dive into it Alan here here.
338 - 340 Alan Donegan We've gone deep quickly Brad.
340 - 354 Brad Barrett Yeah we sure have. So Alan if you don't mind just give us a little background about yourself. How did you get into FI and how did you get into creating popup business school. Where did you get the skills to not only create businesses but to teach people how to do so. I just loved to learn more about you.
354 - 424 Alan Donegan So how did I get into FI. I started studying some of the Robert Kiyosaki early stuff Richard poor dad which was about buying assets as opposed to buying liabilities and I've never owned an asset before. And the example they use is property. It's a fairly easy one to get your head around. So my big focus to that was about buying an asset through property that led this to a book by Tony Robbins which was money master the game which was fascinating about how to invest mainly in index funds. And that changed my perspective which then led us to Pete's blog Mr. Money Mustache and an English blog called The Escape Artist who we went and met. He lives nearby us and he gave us a little bit of coaching and that sort of led us down this path towards index investing. And that was my wife and I were hooked on the journey and together we are a way we're on it. So that's the kind of F-I journey we're probably 18 months away from our F-I targets and we're working together towards It's going really well I'll be 40 almost the day or the day we reach it. My wife will be 34 which I'm impressed. Although she feels like she's behind the curve because Pete achieved it by the time he was 30.
424 - 426 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah because if you're not first you're last.
426 - 529 Alan Donegan Exactly. So that's kind of how I've landed it. This FI-Path I've been working on a completely separate path with this business thing. I got fired by my last proper employer for a rather silly mistake that I'm not allowed to tell anyone about. And I looked for a new job but couldn't find anything that really excited me. And then you're left thinking well what do I do. There's no jobs that really excite me. There's not that much money and I've been on a few training courses that changed my life so I decided I wanted to then share that with other people. So I built this training business originally to train corporate organizations and I went for support from a government body that was a government body in England coach business league that gave out support for people who wanted to start a business. And they gave you three basic workshops how to write a business plan finance and control and marketing and this government body did more to scare me off as a starting than they did to actually help me. So me being me I didn't take it lying down. I contacted the person in central government in England who funded the whole program and told him what I thought of it which went down. Interestingly he rang me. We had a good chat. I told him the business plan didn't help me to make any progress and that I didn't want to go into debt. I'd seen my dad go bankrupt for a lot of money and I did not want to repeat those mistakes. And he sent this guy Simon to come and fix my problems. And Simon has ended up leaving Business Link becoming my business partner and we set up Pop-Pop business school to do what we believe that these government organizations failed to do which is actually to help people start businesses and make money doing what they love.
529 - 537 Jonathan Mendonsa I want to pause you there just to focus on this almost preconceived notion that in order to start a business you need to go heavily into debt. You have to spend money to make money.
537 - 579 Alan Donegan Exactly. That's the belief that's out there. It takes money to make money. You've got to spend the money before you get it back. It's this big belief and I think it's perpetuated by shows like The Apprentice and Shark Tank and Dragons Den where you need to talk about financing and business plans and the universities the colleges they all teach that way of doing business. But it's not true it's not true at all. You can start a business for nothing. I've seen restaurants built for free. I've seen physical businesses with bricks and mortar built for free. I've seen Web sites and online businesses built for free. In fact I haven't found a single business yet that you can't start for free, earn the money and then invest it later.
579 - 597 Brad Barrett Alan That's absolutely fascinating. I'd love to know how do you start a restaurant for free just if you could give me like a one minute synopsis of that because I'm sure there are people out there saying Oh but I heard it cost $500000 or a million dollars to start a restaurant. And you hear those tales of these restaurants going out of business all the time. Talk me through that real quick if you don't mind.
597 - 609 Alan Donegan Well Brad that's the most dangerous way to do it. Because if imagine you borrow half a million dollars you get yourself a building you deck it out you buy away equipment you open the doors and then you hope customers turn up.
609 - 611 Jonathan Mendonsa If you build it they will come.
611 - 706 Alan Donegan That's the biggest lie. If you build it no one will come until you market it and sell it. And I've seen people build web sites and then wonder why no one turns up. They build shops and wonder why no one turns up it's because they don't know about it. The field of dreams didn't quite have that one right. So the restaurant's other way of doing it. There was a guy in London who wanted to start his restaurant. He didn't have any cash. What he found was he found a local cafe and actually I came across one of these in Dallas the other day there was a local cafe that was open 7:00 in the morning till about 4:00 in the afternoon. They did the breakfast slot. They did the lunch slot. The owners were tired. They didn't want to do the evening slot. They were doing fine as it is. So this particular guy in London made friends with the owner of the cafe you nee trust. for this works you've got to build a relationship. He then basically did a deal whereby he could run a week long pop up in the evenings as an experiment to see if it would work. And the owner of the cafe gets 50 percent of the profits he gets 50 percent of the profits and he can test this idea for free his stroke of genius was that he then went out and presold the ticket so his popup event which people will pay upfront to go to something like that. So he got all the cash and the profit in before he'd even run the event. The event was a huge success. It rolled into a second week third week. He ended up running the restaurants in the evening there for two years while he built up the cash to buy his own restaurant and invest from the sales he made rather than from debt. So he built his business on profit rather than debt.
debt, relationships
706 - 741 Jonathan Mendonsa Wow I have chills down my spine that is so cool and that is something that if I hadn't just heard you share that story I would have never considered that that was even a possibility it wouldn't even have occurred to me. And we talk about the power of having somebody model something for you what if you could have thousands of these really clever ideas on how to start something up and you'd actually seen people do it and it work. How empowering is that. And you're kind of a funnel for all these ideas now that you have not only seen other people do but now you're able to share these with people that are looking to to do something similar that could benefit from that information.
741 - 760 Alan Donegan Absolutely. And I'm not always the originator of all the ideas quite often people come to us and they say I've tried this it did work or it didn't work. And seven years of traveling around England meeting some of the most entrepreneurial people the examples the stories the tales the ways to start things that are nontraditional are incredible.
760 - 814 Brad Barrett Yeah and that strikes me with two points that we talk about here often which is looking at a problem differently. Right. So if everybody says quote unquote everybody says you need a million dollars start a restaurant. Well that's the normal paradigm. But this person that you know just looked at the problem differently and not only that but when you had embedded in there with networking and that's not in the contrived manner but in a genuine human connection because this person had to have trust and faith with that cafe owner before they would let him start this up. Right. I mean they're not just going to let somebody off the street do this. So to me I'm constantly talking about the power of genuine human connection and how even in this digital age even in this wired world just making genuine friends and relationships matters more than to me just about anything I can bring back. Almost all of my success to the relationships that I have.
814 - 818 Alan Donegan The more digital world goes the more important the physical relationships are.
818 - 844 Brad Barrett Yeah there's there is no question in my mind that is absolutely true and hopefully everyone listening is really taking this in. This is not just about having a thousand friends on Facebook. This is not about having 50 likes on a post. It's about having real people that you can rely on and you trust and that you add value to their lives and they add value to your life. So that's just a complete sidebar here. But I think an important one.
844 - 866 Jonathan Mendonsa So it sounds like you and Simon were able to create this vehicle using the tools you just mentioned to really start this amazing concept this pop up business school. And so what I would really like to get out of this is kind of go through the framework that you built pop up business school around what are the questions and ideas that we should be considering when really thinking about whether or not a side hustle should be a realistic part of our FI plan.
866 - 889 Alan Donegan So I think one of the questions we've asked everywhere we've gone and I've asked this different countries all around the UK to thousands and thousands of people over the last two years is what stops you from starting a business. What stops you from getting going. What stops you from making money and failing ubiquitously. There's the same answers that come up. Do you know what the top one is Brad. Jonathan.
889 - 892 Brad Barrett I don't have an idea would be probably something I would think people would think.
892 - 893 Jonathan Mendonsa And I don't have the money.
893 - 949 Alan Donegan And I don't have the money. Actually quite a few people have the ideas. They know they want to make food or do this or sell their crochet work or they want to start a photography business quite a lot of people have ideas some don't. But we'll come to how you can overcome that. The actual the number one thing that people say is that it takes money to make money. I don't have the cash. I don't have the finance. That's the number one thing that stops people. Which is why at the pop up business school courses we spend the entire first day on how you start a business for free and I'll give you an overview of the five ways you can build a business without spending any money in a minute. The second one is confidence. It's the confidence that your idea will work and the opposite that is that you're scared that it will fail. And if you're borrowing a lot of money then it does become very scary. Whereas if you can start for free it doesn't feel like you're taking as big a risk and you feel more confident about it.
949 - 975 Jonathan Mendonsa Wow that's very powerful. I'm thinking back to when I started ChooseFI with Brad. There was no risk. It was a side hustle. I was doing it from the safety of a nine to five using my spare time that originally I was just using watching Seinfeld reruns. And I just redirect to that and is starting something and if you know what if nobody listened or nobody cared. I'm going back to my 9-5. There was very little risk just to get this thing going and that did give me the confidence to really go at it 100 percent.
975 - 981 Alan Donegan Absolutely. And if you've got some confidence because there's not much risk. People tend to just throw in and have a go with it. And I love that.
981 - 986 Jonathan Mendonsa And Brad went down this path a few years ahead of me and I believe he has a similar story. Right Brad.
986 - 1070 Brad Barrett I have been creating websites for the last seven years. Even though I knew nothing and I was sitting in a tax accountants office for years and failed miserably for years and years and years. But it cost nothing and I learned skills along the way that enabled my success with the other three Web sites. This is a very personal story for me. Hearing what Alan is describing is something that I that I lived through that this was something that I've done for years for essentially $0 and there was no risk other than my time. But I looked at it as more or less a free MBA let's say. Right. I was getting an MBA in entrepreneurship and online business just by spending my time and researching as many things as I could and trying to pick up skills from all these different sources and sometimes I wasn't even sure where it was going to go honestly. And it's enabled me to put together these ideas in my head and with my web site Richmonds savers for instance where I kind of had this idea to create a hybrid online and real world business where actually literally got on the phone with people to help them with their travel rewards and help them travel for free. And that was kind of like just this random idea that I put together using a background as an account and website owners. So anyway long story short is I think picking up skills and doing it with little risk is essential. And I know personally I benefited from it enormously.
accountant, travel, travelrewards
1070 - 1121 Alan Donegan And if you learn with no risk once you've had the experience you can throw all in at the next level. If you throw all in at the start it's a massive risk. So learn without the risk. And then when you're ready you can go all in. And the third thing that stops people from getting going or the third main thing is knowing what to do on a day to day basis. And I've always found this fascinating people turn up to the proper business school with a business plan they've written somewhere else and they come over to me and they go out and I've got my business plan what do I actually do and knowing what to do because as an entrepreneur on a Monday morning you've got to make this stuff up. There's no boss telling you what to do. There's no one prompting you. You've got to make it up and you've got to know what to do. So working out where the best investment of your time is and what actions you need to take to grow your business. So those are the three main things that stop people from getting going.
1121 - 1131 Jonathan Mendonsa That is so powerful. I love how you pieces together and I'm super excited to see how all these tools that you've been accumulating over the last how long have you been doing this five five years now.
1131 - 1132 Alan Donegan I think six or seven.
1132 - 1135 Jonathan Mendonsa Amazing. I'm excited to see how these all come together. So what comes next.
1135 - 1268 Alan Donegan Let me give you five ways that you can start a business for free with zero risk. And the reason I want to do this is because well just have a go see what happens. You learn amazing things you make friends online. It's incredible. So if I can teach you how to start for free there's nothing stopping you having a go and testing it out. And that's what I really want is for you to have some tools that you can use tomorrow. So five ways to start for free. Number one is what can you get for free. It is incredible what you can get for free when you are starting your business. Absolutely incredible. You can go the website for free. There's quite a few out there now. The one we actually built the pop up business school web site on is called WEEBLY w E.EBLY. Dot com. You can go build a free Web site on there and if you can build a free Web site and start marketing it you can get it out quickly. You can use Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook to a certain extent although it's becoming more difficult to do it for free on Facebook. But Twitter you can use it for free to find your audience. There are incredible online tools that will allow you to sell for free. And I think where this really hit home for me was there's a book called Get free stuff every day by a guy called Mike Essex in England and it's a fascinating little book. He was I think 15 years old when he decided he wanted to get computer games for free so he created a website and then wrote off to computer game manufacturers and said I will put a review online of your game if you send it to me. Now again manufacturers start sending in lots of games and by the end of the year I think that 500 to 600 games he was the most popular kid in school and he didn't know what to do with them all. And then he started to expand from there to see what he could get for free. And so I'd love to give your audience. Brad and Jonathan a little bit of homework. I know that's not normal but I'd love them to do is go to Google and type in. How do I get and then whatever it is for free. How do I get business cards for free. How do I get a shop for free. How do I get a restaurant for free. How do I get whatever it is you need to get going. Start searching for it. It is incredible what you can get for free.
1268 - 1306 Brad Barrett Yeah that's really cool and I love that. And while we don't generally ask for homework we do look for actionable steps. Right. And the essential part of starting a business is actually taking action. People to your point earlier people might have ideas they might brainstorm things but how many people actually get up off the couch and do something. So to everyone out there take Alan's advice and do this actually doing it and then get back to us. We have this Facebook group now with almost a thousand members in it that you can join at ChooseFI dot com forward slash Facebook and let us know what you found. What did you find for free. That Alan tasked you with Allen is in that group so you can speak with him directly.
1306 - 1306 Alan Donegan Yeah I'd love that.
1306 - 1338 Jonathan Mendonsa The stories like the one that you just shared that single story about how one guy looked at a problem. I want free video games and I can't imagine a less consequential problem that you don't have to even find an answer that it doesn't really affect your life in any way but just because you are willing to willing to take this principle and apply it to that and be just a little bit creative just think a little bit outside the box. He was able to get 500 free video games. Now when you take that principle and you apply it to every other problem that you face in this world the doors that that will unlock will be truly life changing at every level.
1338 - 1432 Alan Donegan Absolutely. And a different way of looking at things a different action will get you different results. And that's what we're really after is different to the normal results. So that's number one get stuff for free. Number two is what can you borrow what can you borrow. And the thing that fascinates me is that at the moment there are unbelievable resources lying about us that aren't t used all the time that is kept in universities that only get to use during term time. We had a music artist who needed a recording studio to record her album. Not only was she able to borrow an entire recording studio from a university. They also supplied with students that needed work experience to master the music for her. It's unbelievable what you can borrow. You could borrow a gift shop gift shops and looking for new products to bring people in. We have an example actually of there was a couple of young guys from a place called Portsmouth's in the south of England who wanted to start a mini van rental business. That's what they wanted to do. They came to us for advice. They arrived with a business plan and they wanted to borrow £33000 to start their business to buy two secondhand minibuses and to get going. It was OK though they'd worked out where to borrow the money from. They saved two or three grand themselves and then they were going to get a loan for the other 30 grand but they wouldn't the bank wouldn't give them the loan for the 30 grand because one of them was unemployed at the time. The other one had a job but one of them was unemployed. They wouldn't give them the loan without guarantor. Do you know who was going to guarantee the loan.
1432 - 1433 Brad Barrett No idea.
1433 - 1515 Alan Donegan The parents and you know what they were putting up as collateral. The house the house. So they put up the house as collateral. Now for me that's the riskiest thing you can do when starting a business. These two young lads had never run a business before. One of them didn't even have a driving license and they were going to borrow 30 grand against their parents house to start a business. Insanity that people think you need to borrow money to start a business. So we sat down with them. We went through the business plan line by line like you do with the expenses lines in people's budgets. We went through and go OK do you need a website. No. You can get one for free in an office. No you can work from home or the garage. Do you need business cards. No. Here's how you can get it for free. The one we got stuck on a little bit was the vans because you think to start a mini bus rental company you need a van. Is kind of useful. So what we actually did there was we paused and said Do you know anyone who's got a minibus. And the response for these two young guys was well actually yes we do. That's where the idea has come from one of our friends as a minibus that's he's a taxi driver. He has a taxi and a minibus and he uses them interchangeably through the week for his work. And we saw that mini bus and thought would be great to rent it out on weekends to sports teams. So the next question was do you think you could borrow it.
1515 - 1516 Jonathan Mendonsa Seems logical.
1516 - 1549 Alan Donegan Yeah. Why not. And they were friends of the family so they knew him. He didn't use the weekends. And these these two went into rented out at the weekends specifically for sport teams. So they were able to borrow the van to do a test and then they shared the profit with who they were borrowing the van from just a different way of starting. We actually took that budget down from £33000 to they needed 300 pounds to start the business. And the only thing we needed £300 was to get the driving license for one of them. I couldn't find a way around getting a driver's license.
1549 - 1556 Jonathan Mendonsa Well gosh if you're really good at your job you could have figured that out too.
1556 - 1560 Brad Barrett Come on Alan you only knocked off 99 percent I think you can do better.
1560 - 1562 Jonathan Mendonsa amateur hour.
1562 - 1567 Brad Barrett the minibus owner who didn't have a driver's license but that's your impediment.
1567 - 1596 Jonathan Mendonsa I love every aspect of this because I can visualize that you have had thousands of these stories and you look at it from the same traditional business models the bank and said Well you know what. You're not a good risk you're going need your parents to sign off as guarantors. You're going to need to put up the house as collateral. That is a traditional model and you flip that on its head and empowerd these people that just have an idea you're helping them turn into reality by looking at the problem just a little bit differently by doing what we're doing with finances. You're doing it with business models.
1596 - 1659 Alan Donegan Yes. And if you look at the traditional way of starting a business you work out how much money you need to borrow by writing a business plan. Once you've written a business plan and work out how much money you need to borrow you set up your corporation and then you go for a loan you borrow a lot of money you get into debt. You spend all the money and then maybe you make money in year two. Now I don't know about you but I'm not really up for waiting for two years and taking a lot of debt to start my business. So what we thought was a bit like you with looking at problems differently our expression at the pop up business school is will the opposite work. So the exact opposite of the traditional model of starting a business. The traditional model ends with sales. You write a business plan you borrow loads of money you spend the money then you're set. So what if we were to do the opposite and we want to start with sales. So instead of pouring any money business plans or anything. Let's test your idea immediately because what's the only way you will know if your business idea will work or not. What's the only way.
debt, traditional
1659 - 1660 Brad Barrett Is anybody going to buy.
1660 - 1678 Alan Donegan Yeah. It's actually does anyone buying. And what most people do when they're launching their business is they go to their friends and family with a new idea. So let's imagine I came to you Jonathan Brad with my new idea I was going to do a custom printed mobile phone case for example. I came to you. I showed it to you and I said What do you think. Friends.
1678 - 1680 Brad Barrett We would invariably say oh it looks nice.
1680 - 1681 Jonathan Mendonsa That's cute actually.
1681 - 1685 Alan Donegan Yeah that's nice. Is that good feedback.
1685 - 1686 Jonathan Mendonsa Not at all.
1686 - 1730 Alan Donegan No. What you should do at that point is lean in and go. Brad, Jonathan it's 20 bucks. Would you like to buy one and then watch their face change. That is the only real reaction. The only time you get an honest response from someone is when you ask them to take their wallet, their dollars out of their pocket. Up until that point they will be nice to you. if you ask for the sale You'll get the real response. And if you ask for the sale before you go into debt you can start your business without risk because if they say yes you're going you've got an order your business is running. If they say no you've lost nothing. So one of our biggest pieces of advice is start with sales rather than starting with debt.
1730 - 1739 Jonathan Mendonsa That's really cool. And that strikes me that is kind of the idea behind Kickstarter. That's what they've done they've crowd that out where basically you present an idea would you buy this.
1739 - 1781 Alan Donegan Absolutely. Let's jump forward to number five which is I guess the biggest one of my five ways to start for free. I'd love your audience to get and we word it this way. It is sell your value before you create it sell your value before you create it. And that's what Kickstarter is to sell the value of the product before they build the product. And if you like the idea you pay them upfront then they make it. You see music artists doing this now. They give you a sample and then say I'll make the full album if you pay me to do it. You see writers doing this. They sell the idea first why get the money. Then they write the book the traditional way to do is spend five years of your life writing a book and then maybe people will buy afterwards.
1781 - 1799 Jonathan Mendonsa Wow. That is a completely different way of looking at a problem and I'm sure that you have seen so many examples of people making this very unconventional choice and applying that to business models. How do people take this concept and actually take action apply it. You have any examples you can share with us.
1799 - 1974 Alan Donegan The very first ever pop up business school in western Sukumar we had a guy called Dennis coming along. Dennis was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He called himself cleaned. He got a food hygiene certificate. And his dream was to open a cafe but he was stuck because he couldn't get the cash to buy the cafe to start his business. So we looked to him and said Dennis there's 50 people on this training course they all need lunch every day. Could you sell them lunch tomorrow. What's your speciality dish Dennis. Dennis said his speciality was lasagna. We said well go and sell it. See if someone will buy it we got him running around the room and he was selling his lasagna to other participants 22 of them said yes to a four pound lunch the next day. When he came back over to us he looked downtrodden sad and upset and I didn't get it. Dennis you just sold 22 lunches. That's 88 pounds. Why do you look sad. And he said well the reason I look sad is because I'm still in the same position now as I was before. I don't have the money to buy the ingredients for lasagna to buy the baking. tray to make the lasagna to bring in the next day. To be able to sell it to get the cash. And he looked defeated. So I said Well Dennis could you ask for the money up front. And he had this perplexed look on his face like can you do that. I didn't realize him for some reason. I think a lot of people starting small businesses think they need to do everything first and then ask for the money second. But that's not always the case. If you can build trust you can ask for the money first. So Dennis Went running round the room. Say would you mind if I had the four pounds today so that I can buy the ingredients to make those I need to bring in for you tomorrow and everyone said yes. He came back to us with the biggest smile on his face of ever saying he had 88 pounds in his hands. We were a little bit worried. That was the last we would see of him. But luckily he came back in the next day with a giant tray of Lasagna and garlic bread and some salad. He served everyone so they enjoyed it. He repeated the same the next day saying the next day. In three days he'd made himself 150 pounds which is about $220. And the change from I was stuck. I have no way to get forwards to I've pre-sold what I'm doing an I've made money. The confidence and this self-belief was unbelievable. You saw the restaurant owner that sold tickets to his pop up event before the pop up event happened. The popup business school itself my own business I went to see Michael Williams from Alliance homes in Weston super max. About six or seven years ago. And how much of this two week course I deliver called the popup business school. Do you think I had written before I sold it to Michael Williams.
1974 - 1978 Jonathan Mendonsa Oh 100 percent of it do. Too high to.
1979 - 2018 Alan Donegan Slightly too high. I'd written none of the course. All I had was an idea and I thought why do I want to waste my time writing the entire course. If it's a no go. Let me see if I can sell it first. So I pitched the idea. Michael really liked the idea. He said send me some details send me a proposal I sent him a proposal. He bought it there and then he bought the two week course. My next question was what dates would you like the courseto run. We sorted the dates and then I said to secure the dates can you pay me in advance. And he looked a bit confused to start with. He scratched his head and then eventually said well I need to get the money out of the budget. I'm happy to pay you in advance to do the course.
2018 - 2020 Jonathan Mendonsa That was that was the longest breath ever right.
2020 - 2050 Alan Donegan It was just one of those moments in business where you know you've got to stay silent. He said yes. So the money was in my bank account six months before I'd ever run the course. So I would never create a course and waste my time doing it until I sold it. And I know there's a need and it doesn't matter what your business is. There is a way to pre-sell what you're doing whether it's on Kickstarter or whether it's in-person whether it's through a ticketing event there is always a way to presell.
2050 - 2142 Brad Barrett Alan what's interesting is that this is directly applicable to my life and my business actually. And I don't think I've mentioned this before but my Web site travel miles 101 where I basically offer what we call a free course of free travel rewards course. We did something almost identical where with no we aren't charging for it. So it's slightly different but the concept is very similar in that we marketed this course before we had writen one word of it and really it was just an idea that my copartner Lexi and I had decided on we thought there would be interests especially in the fi world. We actually posted this in the Mr. Money Mustache forum and hey we're putting together this course. I think we for some reason limited it to 200 people. That first month or some such and it's filled up within 48 hours. And it was incredible. I mean we it was proof of concept right there that people are interested in this. They're crying out for this information. And Alexey and I went about furiously creating this course and almost in real time to the point where we were dripping out a piece of content every single day to this email list of 200 people. I mean I was writing it as of 10 o'clock the night before. I mean that's that's how down to the wire this was and incredibly it's two and a half years later. That course is substantially similar. And we've now put 23000 people through it. Wow so yeah I mean that's from. From using your idea unwittingly and in this sense you know we we put it out there. We proved that people want that. And you know the rest is history.
travel, travelrewards
2142 - 2150 Alan Donegan And if no one is signed up then you've not spent years developing a course that no one wants. Right. You can then try another idea.
2150 - 2169 Brad Barrett That's exactly right. I mean we didn't spend anything on it we didn't. To your point it wasn't. Oh let's go out and make this as pretty as we can and get some web designer to make this beautiful course that costs thousands of dollars. I mean it was just our words essentially and some videos and. OK. We proved it out and we created it. It was that simple. So yeah I love this idea.
2169 - 2175 Alan Donegan Awesome awesome. So that was number five. Would you like number three and number for completion.
2175 - 2176 Brad Barrett Of course we would.
2176 - 2226 Alan Donegan You don't have to. So number three is instead of using money could you barter. And I think this actually applies to all of your audience in every area, not just starting side-hustles or building businesses instead of spending money. What can you barter. And bartering is the idea. And back in the old days before cash if Jonathan had chickens and Brad had corn and I had bacon we'd all just swap them instead of having money as a medium. So in the early days of starting up my business I have no money and I didn't really understand marketing so I needed help. So what I did was find a marketing company that needed staff training and I swapped my training for their marketing support. So they designed a flyer for me. They helped me build a web site and do stuff like that. And I ran training sessions for their staff on how to present and communicate.
2226 - 2254 Brad Barrett Alan we're always looking for actionable tips and maybe this is my own mental weaknesses but I'm an introvert by nature. And to me the thought of before like you were talking about borrowing stuff and now bartering like that gets my palms sweaty. You know like how would you tell the audience or give them actionable tips. How did your the person you mentioned before who got that studio at the university for free. How did they go about doing that. What do you suggest they actually do to make that approach.
2254 - 2323 Alan Donegan So the actionable tip on this is it is about making friends with people which if you are an introvert you're going to have to make friends somehow. You can use online tools to reach put to make it more comfortable. So can you connect with on Twitter to find the right people can you use linkedin. Can you even just ask on Facebook the people you already know. Does anyone know X and it's amazing what you can find by asking. I think just people don't ask for what they want and they're nervous about asking for stuff. But it's incredible what you can get. Now there are some tips on building confidence as an introvert to be able to go out and ask for what you want. There are ways to do that. I think the number one is making friends you've got to go out there and make friends with people. And what I do when I'm making new connections is I focus on what I can give First, before I ask for what I want and I will always focus on adding value making friends having fun first and then maybe there's a second bit where I say can you help me with this but if you focus on giving first it makes it a lot more comfortable if you just focus on what you can get. It becomes a lot more uncomfortable.
2323 - 2372 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah and I actually heard this framed slightly differently on an episode of The Smart passive income podcast were Pat Flynn was interviewing the host from art of charm Jordan harbinger. And on that episode Jordan gave this great tip about when he goes into a social interaction. His goal is to always be giving ABG. That's how he presents himself. When he's meeting a stranger or when he's networking he's looking for a way to help that person or add value. This is a complete switch on the traditional model which was ABC Always be closing. Which is what they use in the sales world and that's another unconventional way of looking at a problem it puts you in a different mindset a different framework. It puts you in a better state of mind. It's very difficult to be rejected when you're trying to help somebody earlier mentally when that's how you view it. You're trying to offer somebody aid in some way. What sort of crazy person says no to that. Whereas if you're starting a conversation asking for something you can absolutely be rejected.
mindset, passiveincome, traditional
2372 - 2461 Alan Donegan So let me give you a real practical example. Hopefully people will be able to apply to their own world my business they say to this within the business now we all work from home more from cafes or different places so that we don't spend any money on offices. All of us except one of my members of team called Henry who has his own office with glass elevators free coffee free Wi-Fi attractive people swarming around the building. It's amazing what he's got and the way he did. That he was at his local pub and you could insert coffee shop for that you could in of the place where you can talk to people. He made friends with one of the people there who owned a business and he actually just asked you've got an office in Basingstoke haven't you. Would you mind if I borrowed it every now and again because I'm frustrated with working from home and I find it difficult. The guy looked a bit confused like and he actually said why would I lend you an office. Why would I give you space in my office. And Henry said well what I could do I'm really good at building websites I can build a website for you or I could help you with your social media. And the other guy immediately latched on I'm actually starting the business. I need a website for it. That sounds great. So what Henry did was swap the skill he had. Which was building websites for something someone else has and every one of your listeners has an incredible skill that they think is easy. The other people don't have. We all have skills and different things that we can swap in each one of your listeners has things that they can swap for what they want without spending any money.
2461 - 2489 Jonathan Mendonsa That is incredibly valuable I can't tell you all the little things that you're saying along the way that I'm just kind of taking and putting in my back pocket in case I need it. Like for instance I knew nothing about Web sites going into 2015 2016 and I've learned an incredible amount of web sites not to a website designer. I'm sure I look like an amateur. But to your everyday guy on the street I know way more then than most people and so I have this skill in my back pocket. Is that something that I could barter at some point down the road if I were to need that. Yeah absolutely.
2489 - 2518 Alan Donegan Absolutely. You could also barter the skill of creating podcasts like you have that skill you've invested your time and energy learning it. There's other people out there who want to learn and want to do it and you could swap that for help on other things. The skills we build up throughout our lives are incredible. And every one of your listeners even if it's making food or having a good recipe or it doesn't matter what it is you have skills and abilities. Other people would desire to have and you can swap it for what you need.
2518 - 2526 Jonathan Mendonsa Alright hit me up with a final one. I love that we went through the numbers in an unorthodox manner because everything we do is unorthodox. And that's what adds power give us number four.
2526 - 2557 Alan Donegan Number four is sell stuff. Sometimes there is just a little bit of money you need to get going. Such as the van do need £300 to be able to get through the driving license. Sometimes there's a tiny amount of money you need to go get going and what we found is people have houses stuffed full of stuff they have years of spending culture. They have DVDs that they never watch they have shelves full of books they have stuff lying around a house sell it sell the stuff.
2557 - 2578 Jonathan Mendonsa Check this out. There's a there's an added benefit here. So we spend all this time convincing people that stuff and buying stuff is dumb. And then finally it comes to this point and we say all that stuff that you spent all that time purchasing that now you realize you get no value out of. You can still win with it in the FI mentality because now that can be how you get this thing started for your side hustle. Look at that natural pivot.
2578 - 2672 Alan Donegan Absolutely. It worked beautifully last I think it was about ten years ago. You know when you move into a house and the spare room gets all of the boxes that you don't know what to do with our spare room was cluttered with stuff and about a couple of years ago we had friends coming round to stay. So we had to get rid of it all. So I started selling it. I sold it on Amazon or sold on e-bay or sold it everywhere you could imagine. I turned the the junk in my spare room my old phones my old board games from when I was a kid. DVDs books. I made a thousand pounds which is about twelve hundred dollars out of random stuff in my spare room. And it is incredible what people have lying about in the house that they can just sell and where this comes from is we had a lady on the Birmingham pop up business school called Attia who wanted to start a mobile beautician business and she needed one of those like fold out tables with the little head in the end where people could lie on them. And that was going to cost about 150 pounds about $200 and we got to their slide and said What have you got to sell. And she had a running machine in her spare room that she bought that she'd used once and then was just lying there was a cold sores. So she was we sold it online with her she had the money for the table by the end of the week she was trading by the next week. Sometimes it's difficult to find the hundred and fifty pounds from your normal monthly money because you need to buy food and pay the rent and stuff. But if you can sell something you've got that finds you a little bit of extra cash that you just need to tip it over the edge.
2672 - 2735 Brad Barrett Yeah. Alan I love that. And what's funny is I was actually going to ask you when you were going through selling your stuff and also getting free stuff and networking and this kind of thing like I've had an idea for a business based on what I have in my own attic. And it's I have thousands of old like comic books and sports cards and little toys and things like there's all these collectibles that I collected as a kid and they are just sitting up there languishing and I honestly I don't have the effort or ability to sell these things or the care really to sell these things. But I'd love to get rid of them if I could find someone and maybe this is a call for a business out there because I'm sure there are many many hundreds of thousands of people just like me who have this. If there was someone who said to me Hey Brad I'll go through our catalog everything or put it on eBay and we'll split the profits 50 50. I would do that in an absolute heartbeat but I don't even know and maybe Alan this is something you can answer or not like is there a way that I could offer that to someone and almost try to start a business for them. Like is that even something that's conceivable.
2735 - 2790 Alan Donegan Absolutely. And I think so the last example I have this and this will tie in beautifully We had a gentleman on the was the South Kilbane popup business school. He was homeless at the time he came and when we're saying to sell stuff he looked at us and said I don't have any stuff I have clothing and a bag with an iPad with a cracked screen. And that's my life. What we actually found with him was that he did have a friend who had a lot of stuff in his house and when he was able to do was to do a deal with his friend who didn't have the time to sell all the information but wanted a shot of it. He did a deal to split the profits 50 50 selling someone else's stuff. And that got in the money to get going. So there were people out there who were looking for this opportunity. And I bet you there is someone that you know a young person who's got time and there's someone out there with the skills to use Ebay that would love to do that would make good money selling it and then split the profits with you.
2790 - 2800 Brad Barrett All right my action step after this podcast is to actually do that and I will report back to you Alan and the audience to give you my results after it happened.
2800 - 2849 Alan Donegan Love that And one of the things that you can do I think sometimes people forget to use the power of their network and your network and the friends you know one of the best tools to get an idea in front of your friends at the moment if you're on Facebook is to use Facebook. I would just put on Facebook can anyone help me sell this stuff and give you an example. I had an idea. I wanted to pitch to Twitter a few months ago. So I put on Facebook does any of my friends. Did anyone know anyone who works for Twitter. It's strange that I use Facebook to find someone for Twitter but I did and I got several replies and one of my friends tagged one of his friends in and said This guy works for Twitter. Ask him. We had a conversation and it got me in front of Twitter to pitch my business idea and I don't think audiences use their network enough. So just ask on Facebook. Just put it out there. Can anyone help me.
2849 - 2866 Jonathan Mendonsa I love this idea. Brad I think what you've essentially decided to start is a crowdsourced consignment store like a global a global consignment like you just created. Sure maybe someone else has gone for it but you just move that to a mega platform and you could totally execute on that and turn it into a you could even franchise that thing.
2866 - 2869 Alan Donegan I love That we're building businesses on the podcast.
2869 - 2882 Jonathan Mendonsa Absolutely. It's amazing though. Can I can I add on to that it is amazing that once you have one idea the rest of them start flowing and you go from a scenario where you're like I don't have any ideas to then you can't shut it off. And then it's just a matter of which one you want to put your time and your energy into.
2882 - 2913 Alan Donegan The energy comes when you stop to take action and do stuff and the ideas of flow you can get past it. The energy is unbelievable. And I think this week I've had the realization that I'm playing the game on a different level. On Monday I was in Texas. On Tuesday I was in London. On Wednesday I was in Germany and then I was back to England again afterwards. and jet lag hasn't even played in my in my consciousness because I've got the energy from having done stuff and things are happening you just get such inspiration when you start to take action.
2913 - 2942 Jonathan Mendonsa I had one follow up question for Alan that I know has come across many times and I think it's just interesting to go ahead and talk about it just because we spend so much time talking about pursuing your passions and then the potential to monetize that. And I know that some people say if you monetize something that you're passionate about if you monetize a hobby then you're going to you're going to lose the enjoyment that you get out of that. And I think that that's a valid point at least just to throw out there I'd love to get your feedback because your entire career now your side hustle is dedicated to helping people monetize their ideas.
career, hustle
2942 - 3015 Alan Donegan And I love comments like that in the group that challenge the ideas and we can share ideas. I think that's fantastic. What we have found over the six seven years of doing pop up business school what we have found is that the people who start a business because they think they can make money doing something don't tend to last. the money motivation wears off. They don't continue to enjoy it and they stop. What we found is that people start a business because it's what they love to do. They continue to do it. And it gives you motivation. It gives you energy and it doesn't feel like work. And one of the worst feelings in the world is when you've got that Sunday night. I don't want to go back to the office the next day. And one of the best feelings in the world is when you've got that Sunday night. I've loved my weekend but I'm pumped about Monday. And if you can build a business around what you enjoy doing it doesn't feel like work. And that I think is the bit. If it doesn't feel like a chore you'll want to keep doing it people will love you doing it for them and it will continue. And I don't care whether that's baking cakes, flying drones, making food, doing a podcast. It doesn't matter what it is. There is a way to make money doing what you love if you're willing to spend time exploring it and have fun with it.
3015 - 3060 Jonathan Mendonsa And I think that is the position that I find myself and so choose FI is probably a 30 to 50 hour a week deal for me right now. It does not feel like work. It is something that I am extraordinarily passionate about and because I have taken steps to reduce my lifestyle to reduce my cost and basically be able to support my family doesn't cost as much. It's very low risk. I can now pursue choose F-I with the passion of somebody that doesn't need to worry about how the lights are going to be kept on tomorrow. And I love doing it. So working 40 hours we can choose FI is a dream and every Monday I go into it saying finally the work that I put in is now going to be put on display for the public and I'm proud of it. I'm excited to share it and I think that's where Brad lands as well with this business and with his other businesses right Brad.
3060 - 3078 Brad Barrett Yeah no question about it. It is. It is not work. When you're a doing something you love and B in our case really helping people and making a difference in people's lives and the psychological satisfaction of that I just cannot overstate that. So it's it's a remarkable feeling.
3078 - 3231 Jonathan Mendonsa Alan you obviously tell a very compelling story just for the general public at large. I think there's some things that make this particularly appealing to people in our community which is one of the reasons we were so desperate to have this conversation with you. In my view there's there's three different scenarios. And the people that are in our community that the way that they are going to take this information and the way that they can use it the first scenario is you need to increase your income just to get some space so you're either minimum wage or you're making you know sub-$30000 a year and you want to increase your savings rate because you realize the power of being able to do that. But there's not room for upward mobility in your current working environment. A side hustle gives the ability to create the space. The second scenario that to me is superpowerful and is appealing to me at a very personal level is that it is a shortcut to FI if I am on this path I've achieved a high savings rate and I'm working towards FI maybe I'm one of five or ten year plan from the construct that I've created where I've already slashed all my expenses. I've done everything there. My income is good so I'm happy with that. I've got a savings rate pretty high and maybe I'm on this five to 10 year path if I in the background can create a side hustle that is producing enough income and I love it. That can then decrease the amount of money before I hit my Fi date I would maybe call that 5.5. Right halfway there but you're enough of the way there that with the additional income you're bringing in from your passion you are willing to take the risk and pull the trigger a little bit sooner on executing your game plan. And then the final subset of people that benefit from the side hustle are people that are post-FI and now they have all this time that they freed up because they have this monster portfolio that is fulfilling all of their needs to keep the lights on and provide shelter cover all of their expenses. They have time and so now they're able to fully invest their energies into a side hustle if they want to just for the sheer enjoyment of learning new skills trying something new seeing what works. And so I view those as three very distinct models but all three of those scenarios will benefit from this conversation. The other thing is that financial independence in the FI community this is not an American concept this is an international concept that has the ability to transform lives all around the world and it's not for one socio economic class it's for low income middle income high income everybody can benefit from this because at the end of the day what Brad says it's all about is pursuing your passion finding out what you get excited about. And if you get excited about something why not at least explore whether or not there's a way to earn some money from it because it's fun. There's no reason not to give it a shot. So I think everybody benefits from financial independence and everybody benefits from this conversation this parallel storyline and should really consider whether or not there's room in their life for a side hustle.
highincome, hustle, midincome, savings
3231 - 3249 Brad Barrett And Alan I'd love to hear how you and popup business school are trying to educate not just England but the larger world and not just middle class people but people all across the economic spectrum I think you have some pretty exciting things going on. I'd love for you to talk about it.
3249 - 3344 Alan Donegan So the goal of our business was always to help people that need it the most. That was always all right. And actually there's quite a lot of support out there for people who are wealthy and doing quite well and the rest of the people who need it the most didn't always have the support they needed. So we have always been able to find the money to be able to give our courses away for free to the people who need it the most. No one has ever paid to come on a popup business school. We have always found sponsorship through councils through governments through corporate sponsors through housing associations to give us the cash to give the courses away for free and we go to why we designed the business school was we would go to the areas that need the most to help start businesses. And we've been doing it all across England. We've got first one ever in the states will be in September and actually Mr. Money Mustache has helped us pull that together. So very excited to be coming over there and working with him and we'll be running at the headquarters of mustachianism in Longmont in Colorado in September and our continue plan is to travel around the world helping people to get going. We know that it takes a while. So we are actually starting we started in online guide three weeks ago to building your own business. So if you want to have a look at that pop up business school dot UK you can find an online guide where each week there's a combination of text and video that will help with the steps you need to take. Start up a business as I know not everyone can make it to see us physically.
housing, travel
3344 - 3377 Jonathan Mendonsa Allen I love your focus. It's so inspiring to me to see the impact that you're having on the world. There's so much value there for the communities that you're integrating yourself into. And we will be following you and sharing what you're doing with our community as you proceed with us. The other thing that I think is awesome is that there is actually now a headquarters for moustachianism and urban legend has that urban rumor has it that he made the roads too small for trucks to fit in. So you can only get there by car or by bike and the car needs to get at least 60 miles to the gallon in order to be able to go down that road. Is that true.
3377 - 3381 Alan Donegan I will make sure I cycle to America to meet him.
3381 - 3398 Brad Barrett Yeah everyone we will have links to Alan's website and all the resources he mention in the show notes. So be sure to check that out. And you can always get them in your inbox by heading to choose FI dot com slash subscribe and we will send us an e-mail every time we publish a new podcast.
3398 - 3402 Jonathan Mendonsa Alright Alan I am super excited. You know it's time. Are you ready for the hot seat.
3402 - 3404 Brad Barrett You should be afraid.
3404 - 3412 Alan Donegan I am ready for the hot seat. I have been looking forward to this all day.
3412 - 3440 Speaker In a world drowning in debt and rampant consumption. Trapped by the chains of lifestyle inflation. These questions highlight the secrets of those who are broken for. Welcome to the choose F-I hot seat.
3440 - 3443 Brad Barrett Alright Allen your favorite blog that's not your own.
3443 - 3474 Alan Donegan Now I was thinking about this. I've loved Mr. Money Mustache but that's a normal chance that you get because he is so good. I think one that's actually made a really big difference in my life is Tim Ferris's work. He wrote the four hour workweek. He wrote the four hour body and different books and his Blog and his podcast have definitely had an impact on my life especially Actually the interview where he interviewed Arnold Schwarzeneggar. There's two of those on there. They were fantastic. So that will be my answer. That's had a big impact on my life.
3474 - 3514 Brad Barrett Yes. Tim Ferriss I would argue is the reason why I got into online business and even contemplated doing something different. So yeah Alan I'm completely with you there. I would have been toiling away in all likelihood as a tax account for the rest of my life. But I came again and I came across the for hour work week. I've read all his books listened to every single podcast many of them multiple times. And you know a lot of the skills that I picked up in my life and frankly a lot of the things that I'm doing with my life right now are directly because of Tim Ferriss So Jonathan sometimes wonders why I mention him so often on the podcasts but I just really owe a lot to him. So I completely hear you.
3514 - 3520 Alan Donegan Absolutely. He helped me lose 80 pounds in weight as well so I wouldn't recommend his stuff.
3520 - 3530 Brad Barrett I'm glad the for our body is a really good book. I actually got a ton of value of that. I still do a lot of the exercises that I find and then go back to it pretty often just to pick up new things.
3530 - 3531 Alan Donegan Absolutely.
3531 - 3563 Jonathan Mendonsa You know I spent a lot of time talking and saying things like you don't know what you don't know until you do. And while I think that Brad and I spend a massive amount of time exploring that within the very focused lens of FI. Tim Ferriss takes that to the next level and everything else. And as I'm able to free up a little bit more time but at the same time be very compelled by the idea of finding out all these little things that I don't know. I find his information more and more valuable so I am getting a kick out of that as well. I have followed suit and started listening to a few of the podcast. I'll definitely check out the Schwarzenegger one though question number two your favorite article of all time.
3563 - 3606 Alan Donegan So this is one so absolutely changed the way I looked at marketing and business. It's by a guy called Kevin Kelly and it's called One thousand true fans. And the basic concept is any one any individual as an artist or creator is they can find their thousand true friends. They can build a business that will feed them for the rest of their lives. And it just shifted the way I looked at Lifestyle businesses site hustle's and everything like that and suddenly broke it down to an achievable target of building up your customers and your base and then selling them things that they love. And it's a short article that is well worth a read.
3606 - 3613 Jonathan Mendonsa Well I think you already had a thousand true fans but you definitely added two more today. So you put Brad and I are our solidly in Alan Donnegan camp.
3613 - 3615 Alan Donegan I love you guys too.
3615 - 3652 Brad Barrett And Alan what's funny is as you were saying that you you said marketing and then by a guy called and I'm literally mouthing the words. Kevin Kelly I knew you were going there. That is such an impactful article. And that's one I was introduced to by Tim Ferriss surprise surprise. That's a wonderful article and it's about establishing that tribe of people who who you build up trust with. It's what we talked about this entire episode. Right. It's networking on a real level. Getting those thousand people who believe in you trust what you have to say and will follow you anywhere and to your point you can feed yourself for the rest of your life if you have those thousand true fans.
3652 - 3658 Alan Donegan Absolutely and if you focus on adding value to their lives the rest will take care of itself.
3658 - 3662 Brad Barrett Yeah 100 percent agree. All right. Question number three your favorite Lifehack.
3662 - 3754 Alan Donegan So actually this one. I love traveling to the States especially when the dollar to pound right is good. Which is not so good at the moment because we're having a few problems with our government. But back in the day it was two dollars to the pound and I would travel out to see you in America and it was like everything was 50 percent sale. Jeans were so cheap clothing was so cheap I would travel to America and I would stock up on clothing and it was incredible. And that was my opening foray into the world of geo arbitrage which is where the money you earn is worth different amounts in different countries. So when I travel like we went to Ecuador November last year and the money we earn in England is worth 20 times as much in Ecuador. And the money you earn in your different countries can then be used to leverage to get an even different lifestyle or cheaper lifestyle or a different lifestyle in a different country. And Jim Collins really hit me with dates when he was saying the only true security in life is flexibility. So if the market takes a dip and you don't have as much money coming in. Well move to Thailand for a year it will half your expenses and using that combination of geo arbitrage and things being cheaper in different countries and your money being worth different amounts at different times gets you true flexibility of purchasing power. And that has changed the way I look at things and I'm sure will change where I operate and how they operate in the future.
geoarbitrage, stock, travel
3755 - 3790 Jonathan Mendonsa And I'm sure most of our audience picked up on that right away. But for the rest of us the fact that you are at FI frees you up to get that flexibility because you are not your income is no longer tied to to a job. It's now coming from your portfolio or it's coming from your side hustle or it's coming from one of these other income streams that you've created. So you have that flexibility to make decisions like that and I think that goes back to the fully funded lifestyle change that we talked about was slowly sipping coffee. It's incredibly powerful and I think honestly Brad we need to make it a priority to get a solid Geo arbitrage episode under our belt within the next within the next six months.
geoarbitrage, hustle
3790 - 3793 Brad Barrett Yeah I agree entirely that sounds a quality episode for sure.
3793 - 3796 Jonathan Mendonsa Question number four your biggest financial mistake.
3796 - 3857 Alan Donegan My biggest financial mistake was actually when I was about 21 years old I made a lot of money college through side hustles selling shirts and selling tickets and different things and I did quite well. I got more college than I did in my first full time job and I built up sort of seven thousand pounds ten thousand dollars worth of savings and I followed my dad's advice and invested it into a high risk high tech managed fund. And I did that just before the dotcom bubble burst and my seven thousand pounds changed to being worth a thousand pounds overnight. Ouch. And it never recovered never recovered. And I look back I should have invested in a house I should have invested in an index fund and I wouldn't have had the same problems. Or I just shouldn't have sold I didin't sell for sort of three or four or five years afterwards. But it just never recovered because it was actively managed. So they didn't just leave it there to bounce back. They kept buying and selling and it never recovered.
college, hotseat-mistake, indexfunds, savings
3857 - 3859 Jonathan Mendonsa That's a great point.
3859 - 3870 Alan Donegan In investing in stocks and shares to mid 30s. So 12 years. I missed out on investing in stocks and shares because I've been scared off by that experience.
3870 - 3893 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah and I didn't mean to cut you off but I think that's such a valid point that when you're in index funds you are actually buying and holding. But when you're in an actively managed fund even though you yourself are willing to stay the course. Right. Because you're going to hang in there for three to five years. The active management isn't there. They can't do that they're not willing to do that. And so they're making the trades and so you can never You're right you can never recapture.
3893 - 3902 Alan Donegan Yes. And they never bounced back and these people are buying and selling and do the best they can. Actually they're doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing. If they were to really look after your money.
3902 - 3906 Jonathan Mendonsa I think that's just such a great point. Buy and hold doesn't exist in an actively managed fund.
3906 - 3908 Alan Donegan Exactly.
3908 - 3912 Brad Barrett Alan the last question is what is the advice you would give your younger self.
3912 - 3967 Alan Donegan There's so much advice I would give my younger self. I was a mess when I was younger I needed so much help. I would love to have you guys when I was younger if we could have drafted you in 20 years ago that would have been perfect. But the advice I would give myself I don't pick and I'd go faster. I was so timid and shy when it was younger I didn't put myself out there I didn't take action I didn't make things happen. And I think the biggest one if there's one thing it's learn more from an early age. read, study, learn, listen to podcast and do courses. If I could tell myself to do that from age 18 that difference it would have made my life. Every book I read and I implement stuff. Has a dramatic impact on my life. Every course I go into and I implemented every podcast I listen to and I implemented make such a difference. The advice to me is if I was younger learn learn and implement and you will make progress.
3967 - 3990 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah that is so powerful you know and I talked about that message earlier. Always be giving. I have a pivot on that. And mine is not going to be ABG It's going to be abl. I'll always be learning and start soon and start early and then take action with those steps and that is where I wish I had put my energy as a 10 year old 15 year old 16 year old. I wish that I had cared more about learning and less about what my peers thought about me.
3990 - 3996 Alan Donegan Absolutely. Absolutely. And if you learn you implement you learn more from implementing and you'll get better every time.
3996 - 4012 Jonathan Mendonsa OK so before we go we kind of like to close by just setting this up. You've actually agreed to come on the show and be an in-house expert for all things side hustle related especially in the context of our FI community. And one of the things that we would like to do is make sure that people know how to get in touch with you so what's the best way to reach you.
4012 - 4025 Alan Donegan The best way to reach me is the pop up business school code or UK web site or just email me Alan at Pop up business school dot co. UK or carrier pigeon text message. I'm open to coffee cake anything you like.
4025 - 4078 Jonathan Mendonsa I like the carrier pigeon. Do you Have a great service in mind for that. or Do we need to build that business. Let's build the business. All right. Allan thank you so much for coming on and sharing your ideas with us sharing your passion with us and to our community. We have a very big giveaway coming this Friday so stay tuned for the Friday round up this conversation is not over as you know Brad and I love to come back to these conversations year round. You saw how much potential there is here. You saw how many different options there are. And you saw how inspiring it was to see someone with a problem find a solution an unorthodox solution. And we feel that this just like the concept of financial independence the concept of the side hustle has the ability to transform lives at every level. And so Alan is going to be announcing a a super huge giveaway on the Friday roundup this week. Stay tuned for that. The fire spreading my friends and we'll see it next time as we continue to go down the road less traveled.
Jonathan_Catchphrases, hustle, travel

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