TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

 

Have you wondered if working anywhere you want is a possibility? Jonathan Green is the living proof that it is. Jonathan is a best-selling author with a passion for helping people escape the slavery of nine to five cubicle farms. In this episode, Jonathan shares his vision and his success in doing business from an unconventional work environment—on a tropical island. He tells the story of why he did that, the initial struggles he went through, and how his business eventually grew from that. Jonathan also emphasizes the need to separate work and business from pleasure and entertainment in order to get more things done. When he’s not on the beach with his wife and kids, he writes books, hosts the Serve No Master podcast, and travels the world sharing his secrets.

Listen to the podcast here:

Work Wherever You Want: On The Tropics With Jonathan Green

In this episode, I have Jonathan Green and he is an entrepreneur who left his teaching career behind. He had to learn how to manage his time without a manager. If you’re an entrepreneur, you get how difficult and challenging that can be without having someone tell you what to do and when to do it. He went from living in his mother’s basement to working from a tropical Island. I think that’s a time management challenge too because I’d much rather be sitting on the beach drinking from a pineapple than on my computer. Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Penny. I’m excited to be here and I love talking about time management and building a business. I’m excited about this conversation.

I want to know how you ended up on a tropical Island. What’s up with that?

When I started working for myself, which was a big challenge, everyone always says, “I will work for myself. I want to work from a beach,” and then all of my friends who are in the same business, they started hiring teams, renting office space and buying new suits. When I said, “I’m moving to the beach,” they all said, “What are you crazy? You’re going to kill your business?” I said, “I thought that was our deal? I thought that was our plan?” A lot of my friends have big teams and they’re making a lot of money, but they’re still putting in big hours. That’s not what I wanted. A part of it is I was traveling the world full-time, which I was able to do because of my business. I met my wife and I said, “If I’m going to live in this country, we got to live in the best possible place. We tried all these different beaches. We live in an amazing surf spot. We live about 87 meters from our front door to the waterline. It’s close and we swim in the ocean not every day, but almost every day.

Was the inspiration for you was to live that beach lifestyle and to go out on your own?

The whole reason to work for yourself is to live wherever you want. I know some people, that’s not their dream. Some people want to live in the mountains or some people want to live by the beach. For me, I was like, “I want to live where I want.” From what I believe in and my philosophy at Serve No Master, you should be able to make your own decision. That’s what it comes down to. For me, I tried a lot of different places. There are other things I’d love to do. My family’s never seen snow. We’d love to go snowboarding. We live in the tropics. We live right on the equator. There’s no snow here. There’s not even any cold rain. You have a trade up.

I spent one Christmas in Ukraine and I said, “No.” The ground was four inches of ice, so the bottom of your feet was always cold. I said, “I’m done.” I moved from there straight to the tropics. I said, “That’s enough.” I tried the Russian winter. I get it. I don’t like it. I moved somewhere that was my dream location. Sometimes my wife or my kids are like, “Let’s go on vacation.” I’m like, “No, we live on vacation. We’re already there.” We live on vacation island and it’s all part of knowing what you want and then you build a life around getting there. From wanting to move to this Island, it took us two years of planning to get here.

Planning is an important part of designing the business that you want. If it’s a lifestyle business that gives you the lifestyle you want, you have to plan it. You said there are people that you know, they’re growing their businesses. You have to plan what you want and I found this with my business, otherwise, it runs you and you’re not in control. The whole point of having your own business is to be in control.

It’s easy to paint yourself into a corner. We first came here for a visit several years ago. We came for a month, a little vacation. We were living a little further up north. We’ll go out for 3 or 4 days at a time. The power would go out for 4 or 5 days at a time. I needed to rebuild a business around a different schedule, around what happens if the internet goes out. I made a lot of changes. That’s why I have a lot of books on Amazon. That’s why I moved into that. Even if I can’t get online, at least my books are still running. Now, things are a lot better. We have some more infrastructure and we’re going to do a live call. This would have been impossible when I first moved here. I wouldn’t even have considered it. A lot of times, if I have to do a whole bunch of live events, I’ll leave the Island and that’s part of the trade-off is going, “I want to do webinars or phone calls and I need to record.” Sometimes I have to leave. It’s getting better and better. It’s also the middle of the night, so no one else is awake using the internet, so that’s why I do these calls instead of outside. Instead of you see me out on the beach, I’m in the house because it’s pitch black outside. You wouldn’t see anything except for mosquitos attacking me in a rage from the laptop lights.

You talked about time management is one of your biggest challenges. Tell us a little bit about that.

I am terrible at analytics, spreadsheet and at an organization. For a long time, I’ve been disorganized. I get more and more organized as I continue to grow. The year 2020 is where I’m totally focused on organization and that’s why my business has grown a lot. Since I said, “I’m going to learn how to use project management software. I’m going to learn how to have a schedule.” I remember the first time I hired an accountant, she said, “How much money do you make?” I go, “I don’t know.” She goes, “What do you do when you run out?” I said, “I make more.” She was like, “That’s the opposite of what I believe.” That’s because that’s what I do. We have a slow month, we work twice as hard. When I have a good month, I slow down and learning not to do that was a big lesson for me.

My first year in business, I had a month that was good. On the first day of the month, I got payment. That was my goal for the month. I took 3.5 weeks off after that, which is not what you’re supposed to do. It’s learning to change how you do things and learning to build operations. For me, I finally started using project management software. I probably tried ten times in my business and this is the first year I said, “No, I’ve got to do it.” I spent weeks learning checklists. I kept trying to hire people that were product management experts and it never worked for me. A certain point you go, “I got to do it myself.”

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

Work Wherever You Want: One benefit of planning is that you do what you should be doing instead of what you feel like you should be doing in the moment.

 

I have a better structure. I know what I’m going to work on each day. I know what’s the most important thing. I have a good team around me that we have a good communication structure. They use project management software to probably 90% more than me. I set it up once, I put in all the checklists and the structure and then it’s better and better organized. Putting it in place took me a long time and you think it’s not a big deal if things are working at your business, but when you start to realize how you spend time. I was working on a project with someone and he’s like, “Most people get up. They work, they have a big plan for the day, but they start opening emails and going through all that stuff and then it’s lunchtime and they go, ‘I didn’t do anything yet.’” They go, “I can’t tell you what I did.”

I have those moments too. Sometimes I feel not productive and my other issue is I have no choice but to be productive. I have an eye condition that limits how much time I can spend on the computer. Some days I can only do 1 hour or 2 hours on the computer. That means there’s no room for messing around. You have to get the most important thing done or you get behind. I’ve also learned to be efficient and to use my time strategically when I’m on the computer and how to be faster when I’m not on the computer because I want to be working as little as possible. I want to be on the beach or I want to be with my kids. Those things have come in place and those had been the big waypoints for me.

I want to go back and talk about a couple of things that you said. You say the introduction and the consistency in using the project management software. I guess what that is planning ahead of time and knowing what you’re going to do each day has helped you to get more consistency and stability in your business. Is that what I understood? I want to highlight that point for the people who are reading because it’s these points of systems and organizations that people resist. They go, “I got in my own business to be more flexible.” I think that by having project management systems and other types of support structures, they give you more flexibility rather than take them away. How would you describe that to someone? Because everybody thinks, “You’re such a system person,” which is not true. I do it because I’m all over the place and I have to do it. Otherwise, I’d be all over the place. How would you encourage people to embrace it rather than resist it?

The first thing is the benefits. For me, I know what’s going to happen. I used to wake up and go, “I wonder what I’m going to email about,” every single day. I did that for a few years. You’re scrambling and you go, “I wish I’d emailed about this.”

Did scrambling bring stress for you?

Yes, and it also created a lot of empty days. It could lose me money or people wouldn’t get emails and they forget who you are. You leave a lot of money on the table that way. That’s one of the things. You’re not there and you missed the big opportunities. A lot of the things I promote you have to apply for 2 or 3 months in advance. At my team, it’s me and I have an amazing project manager, Paris, who’s good at organization and structure. She’s good at timing and she runs all of our calendars because we’re in different markets. She knows what we’re going to mail about three months in advance.

Separate the business from how you feel. Click To Tweet

I have to look, I go, “This is what we’re going to do.” At least I can look. I set up the system with her. Whenever I hear about a new possibility, I go, “Should we do this one or that one? Here’s what I think.” We plan it out. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m getting better and better. I’m still planning. When were you going, “We need that tighten up the promotion we planned a few days in advance, it’s no longer the day of?” That’s gotten way better for me. A big part of it is preparation. The other benefit is that you do what you should be doing instead of what you feel like you should be doing in a moment. You wait until the last minute. You’re always chasing your tail and you’re doing whatever seems like it’s important.

One of the things I’ve learned as well as the things I can promote, the products I can participate in are a lot bigger than I used to believe. I wasn’t thinking big enough and we tested some ideas that Paris had and they made a big difference. She said, “Let’s try these bigger things.” I said, “I don’t know,” but we tried it and they worked well for us. We’re learning that, when you plan in advance, you can do bigger things, you can promote bigger products, you can be part of bigger conversations and it allows the business to grow. A lot of our revenue has changed. The amount of followers I have has grown significantly since getting focused on structure and the systems. My audience has grown about 7X in the last few years. It made a huge difference because so often we didn’t have things planned out. I have things on my Trello board. It’ll say, “Two weeks before this happens, we need to do this.” Even if it’s a recurring event, we have the before launch sequence. That means that we can replicate and that’s the only way to do it, at least of all the ways I’ve tried. It’s the only thing that’s ever worked for me.

Coming back to the point, you said to work on those things that you should be doing, that you purposefully are doing because it allows you to go after those bigger things. That if you’re reactive, you’re going to miss those opportunities. It’s being purposeful and taking those actions purposely.

It’s easy when you first wake up in the morning, you go, “Here’s what I’m going to do.” You get that first message and it’s always an emergency. I do some client work, not a lot. I work with maybe a couple of clients a year. The last time I did a big ghostwriting project, I wrote a book for someone. They go, “You have to get it done. I want to launch it.” You get it done on time. I delayed another project and he didn’t even read it for a year. The hard lesson is that people don’t value your time. This is in every industry. My father was a lawyer and he used to have the same thing. He goes, “It’s always an emergency until you give it to them and they have after review it, then it’s not anymore.” You have to learn that it’s okay. I used to be obsessive about email. I used to get those feds and buzzes from your phone when you think it’s ringing. I have to look around because I don’t know where my phone is almost all the time. My phone is set to give me no alerts. Unless I’m looking at the screen, I won’t know if it’s ringing. It doesn’t make a noise and nothing flashes. I have every alert turned off because what’s the point?

I do the same thing. If you want to be focused on one thing, you have to turn off the other things. I don’t understand why people still have them on. I get it if they need to have an emergency setting so that certain things come through. If you’re blocking out an hour, I don’t think anything can’t wait until the end of that hour.

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

Work Wherever You Want: When you plan in advance, you can do bigger things, promote bigger products, be part of bigger conversations, and allow the business to grow.

 

We all think that we’re surgeons. I remember when I had my first pager and cell phone. We think, “Now, people can resonate it,” but it’s never important.

I think it makes people feel significant. We do it for emotional reasons because it’s like that whole back in the day when it was the, “You got mail,” from AOL or whatever. I think that’s multiplied that the more likes you get and the more notifications and replies are that there’s a significant factor that says, “I’m important and we don’t need that to feel important.” We need to get the things done, reach our goals and be consistent in that way. That’s going to make us feel much better at the end of the day than a shallow lake.

It’s important as you’re setting up the strategy, planning your time management and your business planning is to know what your goals are. I had a conversation with someone who was bragging about how they have a reach of four million. I go, “I don’t even know what reach means. I measure my business with one metric and that starts with a dollar sign.” To me, nothing else matters because it’s the only score, but we’ve created all these sub metrics that make us feel good.

I disagree with that a little bit. Let’s converse about that. It’s good to have some discussion because I think when we look at the sales that come in, that’s a lag indicator. It means it’s already passed. We can’t influence the number that we made up. I do believe that some numbers are important because they could be lead indicators that help us to identify that if I tweak this, then that’s going to create more income. What do you feel about that?

There are certain things like list size, open rates, having people reading my blog posts. All of those things lead towards that final score. They’re part of it, but I feel we’ve created a whole bunch of extra ones like reach how many people could see what I had to say. I’m like, “I understand measuring your follower account. I get that because then that tells you what the odds are.” We’ve started creating these extra metrics that are potential. What’s your social popularity score, your cloud score? We keep adding extra things and I’m sure if you have an Instagram-based business, then it makes sense. Your followers and your open rates, your comp rates. Those all matter towards it. We’ve started adding extra ones, which we don’t need.

It’s like, “How many likes did I get?” It doesn’t lead to anything else. It’s like, “People will like me.” I remembered Facebook called everyone your friends. It’s like, “I have 5,000 friends.” I’m like, “Do you?” It feels good to call it that, but it’s not what it is. It’s easy to get distracted by these things because they feel good and they sound nice, but you have to look at what is my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is I want my kids to eat every day. I got to pay for a house every month. Those things are the most important. Those are what I rate the most. I do look at other metrics. I don’t even look at my list size often except for if people ask me, but I look at is how many people open each email I sent.

When you know what you're going to do, you know you have room for a new project. Click To Tweet

That’s the only thing that matters. How many people would click the link? That lets me know how many people are connecting with my messaging. Am I talking about the right topic? Is my audience still interested in me? I used to be obsessed with drop off rates and unsubscribes. How many people are no longer interested in me? I’d be like, “I don’t want to send an email because they don’t want ten people to unsubscribe.” I’d rather have no one read my message and have ten people leave the list. That became a paranoia. It’s not a critique of you. You have to start separating the business from how you feel. It’s not a critique of me. There’s plenty of people who get tired of my messaging or it’s not the right messaging where they’re looking for someone else or they wanted something free and they never want to hear from me again. All of that’s fine.

You can also celebrate because that’s not your target market. If they’re dropping off, then they’re not people who are going to buy from you. Let’s get them off the list and keep people on the list that are going to engage and buy from you. I see that as good that you’re tightening and it doesn’t matter. The potential to reach matters to the people who are taking action.

It’s not about how many people you’ve sent an email to and how many people open it and read it. That’s why I’ve been more proactive about pruning my list. I prune it every month. Anyone hasn’t opened an email in 30 days, I go, “They probably don’t want to be here.” I actively prune as well because I know that I get higher open rates, I get higher engagement when I email people that want to hear from me. It goes back to when you’re planning, you have to know what metrics you want to measure so that when you start your day, you don’t get distracted. My wife and I started working with a personal trainer and when we go to the gym, he’s like, “I’ve got this cool app and you can track all your exercises.”

I have to bring my phone with me, which makes my eyes hurt and I’m getting constant alerts, emergency. I was like, “This is not working. I got to go low tech.” He sends me a worksheet. I print it out and I bring it with me. That means no one can distract me while I’m there. I don’t need constant alerts. I used to think it, “I was important,” because I have a lot of email addresses. I get a lot of emails. I spent a lot of my time programming the rules and my mail software to say, “This goes into this folder, this goes into that folder.” I have a folder that’s called Fluff. It’s not spam. I’ll look at it once a week if I’m in the mood. I have this other app that takes all of these messages and turns it into one email a day that comes in in the morning, so I scroll through it. I say, “Do I want to read any of these emails?”

What’s that app called? That sounds interesting.

It’s called Unroll.me. What it does is it goes, “This is a newsletter.” I only use it on my private email. I used to get 50 or 100 emails a day. Now, I get twenty. It cuts it down. I don’t need all the newsletters. I don’t read them every day. I don’t need them all coming in. It forces me to look at one time. The other thing is it doesn’t let me look throughout the day. I get the email once I can scroll through it. I’d probably click on one of the emails. Maybe once or twice a week, I have to read one of the emails in it. It lets you realize, these things aren’t that important. We get caught up in thinking, “I need to know.” “I have to know all the news or I have to know all this information to make decisions.” We get caught up because there’s too much information. It’s easy to have information overload. If I’m not organized, my team doesn’t know what to do and that can lead to problems. They start working on their project or they start going down a rabbit hole. They start fixing something that’s not broken. I have to be on top. When you’re the leader, you have to pay attention to these other things. Any mistake I make as far as the organization gets magnified.

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

Work Wherever You Want: Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way that you have to have a separation. It’s tempting to work all the time but if you don’t have any non-work time, your efficiency drops.

 

That’s the benefit and the negative of having a team. My team grew too fast and had a lot of people that we’re going in the wrong direction continually. We shrank down and I still have five people with me full-time, which is a lot to manage until you have good project management software that tells them what to do. As soon as they finish the task, they go, “Here’s what’s next.” I’m able to get a lot more done with a lot less communication. The other beauty of having project management software is that I only have to explain how to do something once then it gets put into the system. The next person can do it by going through those checklists. It all connects once we start to realize the value of efficiency because I’ve certainly sat down and I’ve worked for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours. I go, “I don’t think I did anything.”

All I did was I answer emails and then I watched a couple of YouTube videos. We start to mix business and pleasure because email doesn’t separate business and pleasure much. I get all of my emails in one big app because I have all the different projects. I have all the emails there, personal emails, an email from my wife might be right next to an email from a customer. We start to mingle those mindsets and it’s important to separate business time from personal time. I don’t play video games on my computer. I don’t watch YouTube videos for entertainment on my computer. My computer’s for work. That way, if I’m on the computer, I know it’s work time. That is an important delineation because if we mix our work tool with our entertainment tool, then we don’t know what we’re doing. If I’m sitting at this desk, I’m working. I would never sit here and do fun. I don’t go on Facebook as I did 10 or 20 years ago. I don’t go on Facebook at all. For me, it’s not a toy. I only do it for work. I’m not there reading old people’s posts and liking someone’s comment or saying, “I’m sorry about your breakup.” I’m focused on business. I’m either on the computer working or I’m with my family.

I like that distinction that you have certain tools that are for business and others that are for private. When you separate them, you can be present to one versus the other. There are some people I know they carry around two phones. They have a work phone and they have a home phone. I’ve heard people say, “That’s stupid. Use one phone. You don’t need two phones.” I could see the intelligence behind it because work stays with work. When you put it down and you’re not looking at your work phone, then you’re done with work. You can put that down and then you can have access to your other phone. Don’t play games on the same machine because it leaves you that opening to procrastinate while you’re on that machine to go to that thing that you also do to pass the time. I think that’s a smart mindset capacity. Because we have to have these little hacks and tricks for our brain because we’re easily distracted and whatever we can do to stay on target is absolutely key.

A big part of what I do as well is I do things in specific orders. If I’m working, then I sit down, I follow my start work ritual. I get in position, I do these things, whether I’m working on the phone, on the beach, at another location or whether I’m working here. I follow those steps in a specific order. If I’m not working, I don’t do it here. I don’t do entertainment stuff at this desk. I’m almost 40 but I have a PlayStation and that’s because if I want to play a video game with the kids or something, it’s in the other room on a different TV. There’s no possibility because you can’t do work on a PlayStation. There’s no possibility of that being a work machine.

That’s why even though there are some, I love playing games. I used to play loads of games on the computer, now no way. It’s separate and you have extra devices or some way to do it. On my phone, I only get personal emails. I have another device that I use that’s an eReader that I get my business emails on and I can check the help desk. I separate how I use things because for me I need those limitations. When I put structures in place that are built around my personality and other people are different. Maybe there are some people that can play games on the computer then work on it. That hasn’t worked for me. For most people, it doesn’t work.

I want to build off of that whole idea because I think it might work a little bit for some people, but if they would recognize what difference it would make if they stopped. That’s part of you said, you recognized the difference when you consistently implemented the project management system. You need to see what the difference is. In another context, I hear people talking about TV in the bedroom or having the iPad and the computer in the bedroom. We do have different rooms for different purposes and it should stay like that. I have no TV in my bedroom.

The further advance you plan, the easier it is to put everything into place. Click To Tweet

I do not use my computer or ever do anything in the bedroom other than sleep. Those are the things that you want to do in that room, that you want it to be that space of relaxation. It makes total sense that you’ve got that office space. I know for myself, I didn’t have doors in my office, so I put in doors to make sure that I also had a place that I could close and walk out of and then not come back in and creating that transition time when I leave the office. Those things are hard. It doesn’t make it easy, but it makes it easier when we create those limits and those boundaries for ourselves. You’re spot on and it’s working for you.

As I have more kids, we’re working on the next one. There’s less and less time that I can spend wasted. We have to be efficient with the kids. We have to be efficient with meetings. We have to be efficient with work. At first, it feels like you’re creating a prison. I have to do this at this time and this at that time. I don’t have a schedule like that. I can work whatever hours I want, but when I start working, I have that structure. I only check email once a day. That was a big change for me. I tell people all the time and all of my books, at some point I go, “You can email me, but give me 1 or 2 days to reply. Give me at least 24 hours because I’m not going to check the email in real-time.” Some people email me right when I’m checking it and they can’t believe I replied instantly. I’m like, “You got lucky. This isn’t going to happen again.”

Setting expectations removes that pressure. A lot of it is if we make everyone think we’re always available. This is my biggest mistake. When I first started in the business, I was doing all client services doing local services for small businesses and I said, “I’m available 24/7. Call me anytime.” They do. What was I thinking? I said, “That was an empty promise. Don’t call me at 4:00 in the morning to ask about one of your search engine rankings or your YouTube video.” We were keen to get those clients and to grow our business that we make these big promises. We have to learn sometimes the hard way is that you have to have a separation. It’s tempting to work all the time. If you don’t have any non-work time, your efficiency drops. I used to write all my books by hand back when I was able to. At a certain point in the day, I would start misspelling every word. My fingers wouldn’t do what my brain wanted it to do. I’m like, “No, I want to write another 1,000 words.” My fingers are like, “They’re all going to be misspelled.”

You have to admit your limitations and everyone’s limitations are different. You have to build in a structure of relaxation time and hard work time. When I dictate my books, it’s the same thing. I do an hour session because if I do longer, I start to get sick or I get a sore throat. My focus drifts and suddenly, I’m talking about totally the wrong topic and then it becomes useless content. My editors have to delete an hour of my work. You have to know your limitations and build in structures for when it’s time to relax. When it’s time for entertainment. When it’s time to stop working for the day because your efficiency’s dropping off. It’s hard to have a day off, but I have to give myself time off in the week because I would rather work every day because I like what I do. You end up what you don’t want to be. You don’t want to be someone who misses life because you’re working all the time.

The best ideas come typically when you’re not at work.

I do a lot of my thinking when I’m with the kids, when I’m surfing, when we’re paddle boarding or when I’m walking on the beach or swimming. That time is important as well because you have to have that mix of your spirit, your mind, your body and your work. It’s tempting for me to work all the time and let my health drip. Now, that I’ve been exercising a lot more and work with this trainer, exercising with my wife, and being focused on this process, I’m able to do better work because my body’s operating at a higher level of efficiency. We forget everything’s all connected sometimes because we get distracted by projects or life happens. It’s easy to go off track. That’s why having a plan and I’m planning more and more in advance. I have a lot of friends who are planning everything they’re going to do the next year. I’m like, “You plan the whole year in advance?”

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

Work Wherever You Want: Most of the success, whether it’s in business or life or health, comes from our relationships, of being around other people.

 

That’s more and more of where we want to move to. Because the further advance you plan, the easier it is to put everything into place. Part of it is when you know what you’re going to do, you know when you have room for a new project. Sometimes we take on projects that we shouldn’t or it with clients that we shouldn’t or pursue an idea. One of the other things that I do is I do a lot of 80/20 reviews. I had a conversation with a friend of mine. He publishes books in the horror space. He has 150 books. I said, “I’ll never read any of them. Those were too scary for me.” I said, “Where does all of your revenue come from? New books or books that you’ve published all the time?” He goes, “All that catalog.”

I’m like, “Why are you still focusing on new books then?” He’s like, “95% back catalog.” The same thing in my business. A lot of what I thought was the most important thing, it’s not and I have to reassess constantly. My favorite thing to do is to write books and every book I put out it’s almost a rounding error. That’s how little difference it makes on the bottom line. It’s the least financially viable thing that I could do. I’ve stopped working on any new books for that reason. I love doing it. My audience loves it, but it doesn’t generate revenue. That’s the way to look at it. Unfortunately, some of the things we love to do or the things we’re the best at aren’t always the best way to spend our time.

In advance, it can be hard to predict the best ways to use your time, but if you reassess and go, what did I do that got me the closest to whatever my metric is? Whether it helped me lose the most weight or help me make the most money or helped me make the most friendships. What was the best use of my time? Looking at that will help you to plan your next move and I do that all the time. I’ve been doing some 80/20 stuff, looking at, “What’s the most efficient use of my time?” I look at things like which of my products are the most popular? Unfortunately, the practice I liked the most usually is the least popular.

I work with that 80/20 all the time. I had an a-ha moment many years ago that helped me to always consistently and constantly step back and reevaluate what is that 20% that’s most important that gets 80% of the results. I want to let people know where they can get ahold of you so that they can find out more information to get some of these great books that you’ve written and to hear more about you.

A big part of my growth and we didn’t talk about it as much as I thought we would, but it is about working with other people and how to lead my team and how to find partnerships and alliances. It’s like how we connect with each other. It’s all strategic. It was all on a spreadsheet in a project management software. If you go to my website, ServeNoMaster.com/blackbelt, I have free training all about how to get your blackbelt in networking. It’s about how to find people you want to work with, how to figure out where to meet them, how to have that conversation and how to go into business relationships with them. How I’ve continually grown my business is I’ve surrounded myself with people that are doing better than me and asking them questions and getting them to share projects with me. Those things can make a big difference. A lot of our growth is about taking them to the people. When I started working online, I said, “I have never talked to another person again.” It turns out it’s the opposite. The more time I spend on other people, that’s how my business grows. It’s about relationships and it’s a thing we discount the most.

It’s the right relationship too. You talked about it with your list before that it’s having the right people on your list, the people who are attracted and connected to you. It’s getting those right partnerships that are the best synergy and that are going to help you to move forward. If you were to say, out of 100 people, there’s going to be those few people that are going to be the best partners that are going to move you forward. It’s identifying who those are.

A lot of what we do when we’re first starting in any new ventures. We partner with whoever’s near around us and sometimes you end up, I remember when I went to my first conference. One of the people I knew already, he met ten other beginners and began to hang out with them all the time. I said, “What do you talk about?” They don’t know and no one has hit the next level. If you surround yourself with people that are a level above or who are in the same industry or there’s a reason for that connection, then you know what you want from that relationship and so does the other person. Sometimes it’s a mentor-mentee relationship. Sometimes it’s partnerships, sometimes it’s like a mastermind.

If you are connecting with people randomly, then you can surround yourself with people that aren’t good for you, whether it’s a friend who isn’t a friend or a relationship that’s toxic or sucking the energy out of you. I look at all my friendships. I go, “How do I feel after I hung out with that person? If I feel bad, I feel worse about myself, then I don’t want to hang out with them anymore. I used to have a lot of friends like that when I was younger. I struggled with friendships when I was young and took me a long time to analyze it and look at it strategically and say, “I want to be around people that make me feel good, that encouraged my business, that understand what I want from life and that is on the same path as me.” Once you start to form those alliances, everything becomes a lot easier. It’s a lot easier to be surrounded by ten other people that are on the same path as you than with ten people that are trying to stop you because they feel like you’re betraying them because you’re changing.

It comes down to networking or any part of where you spend your time and energy and being purposeful versus being reactive. It’s the same type of thing. It’s going after those purposeful relationships and knowing what relationship you’re looking for out of that relationship. It’s smart networking. What do you look for? I know you’ve got a whole course and we’re sending people there. What’s the one thing you’d say that you learned the most or that’s the biggest thing that you look for when you look for partnership?

I look for people that are on the same path as me that are more either as successful or more successful than me, so there’s something I can learn from them. I usually like to be around people that are doing something different than what I’m doing. I don’t hang out with other authors. I don’t hang out with a lot of people in the authorship niche. I look for people that are focused on the same metrics as me. I find that in the authorship niche, a lot of people are focused on high school type stuff. There’s a lot of gossip and fighting. I find out about it last. I didn’t even know that existed until one of my friends is like, “My reputation’s in trouble.” I was like, “With who?” He’s like, “Other authors.” I was like, “I don’t even live in that world.” I can’t imagine having to worry about what someone I’ve never met in person thinks about me. I got in trouble for a podcast interview I did in 2019.

Someone’s like, “I can’t believe you let that lady interview you.” I was like, “Why? She seemed nice enough.” He was like, “I don’t like her approach to romance novels.” I was like, “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t read romance novels. I don’t know what to tell you.” He was all against ghostwriting. I was like, “That’s how I feed my family. I ghostwrite and I did it for a long time and grew my business.” People that’s caught up with those things, I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in people that are passionate about what they do and have confidence. A lot of people I meet are like, “What do you do?” They don’t want to tell me and I go, “Bye.”

If you’re not confident about your job or you’re not confident about what you’re good at and everyone’s good at something. Everyone has something to bring to the table. I want to hear about that. If you used to be a professional athlete, don’t bury the lead. That’s your best thing. Let me know. It’s not bragging letting people know you’re good at stuff. I look at that and I then look at, “Do I want to be around this person?” Sometimes there are people that can be good for your business, but they’re horrible people or they’ve done things in business that are extremely unethical. Someone approached me about a business project and they’d been fined by the FTC for many millions of dollars for ripping off many thousands of people. Someone approached me and he goes, “I found someone who’d be great for your next ghostwriting project,” and the guy had ripped off children with cancer with a fake scam. I said, “Are you kidding me? That’s not what I want to be.”

What you’re saying is to know what you want out of a partnership and research the people. There are lots of information out there to check to see if it’s somebody of integrity because nobody wants to get involved with drama and lack of integrity.

A lot of times, you have to learn the lesson the hard way because you are so excited that anyone wants to work with you, that you don’t pay attention to the red flags. That happened to me as well a long time ago. Part of the growth cycle is figuring out who do you want to work with and what are you looking for in a partner? What are you looking for in relationships? It takes time to figure that out and that will change as you grow and as your business grows. I look for people that I would want to hang out with, to have dinner, to meet my family and that screens out a lot of the people out there. There are plenty of people that I would never let to meet my family even though they might be great for my business.

The whole reason to work for yourself is to live wherever you want. Click To Tweet

That helps you start to sort it out because you only have so much time. It’s better to invest in relationships that are worth it. Relationships have ups and downs. Friendships go in and out of style and sometimes you have a disagreement with someone, but those things are all part of life. The important thing is to realize that most of the success, whether it’s in business or life or health, it comes from our relationship. It comes from being around other people. We’re social creatures. It’s tempting to think. “I’m going to go at it alone or I don’t need anyone’s help,” but you grow much faster.

Most of my growth in my business is about finding other authors that are doing cool things, promoting their book, running their podcasts or supporting them in different ways. Those grow my business more than anything else. It’s relationships. My business is built on a foundation of relationships. That’s why it’s important to me. That’s why it’s my most important course. That’s why it’s what I believe in. Whether you’re building a team, it all comes down to finding the right people and then using your time efficiently with those people.

Thanks for it. You summed up the whole show. It’s doing planning, using your time wisely and picking and choosing your partners wisely. Thank you, Jonathan, for being here.

Thank you for having me and I hope you enjoyed it.

Thank you all for being here. There were a couple of important nuggets that I hope you wrote down. You go check out Jonathan’s course that he’s got offered so that you can see how it is that suggests that you take a look at networking and how to make networking be a productivity tool for you. I appreciate you all. Our goal here is to help you to take back time to work smarter, not harder and to be more strategic in the way that you think and act. We’ll see in the next episode.

Important Links:

About Jonathan Green

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You Want

Born in Los Angeles, raised in Nashville, educated in London – Jonathan Green has spent years wandering the globe as his own boss – but it didn’t come without a price. Like most people, he struggled through years of working in a vast, unfeeling bureaucracy.

And after the backstabbing and gossip of the university system threw him out of his job, he was “totally devastated” – stranded far away from home without a paycheck coming in. Despite having to hang on to survival with his fingernails, he didn’t just survive, he thrived.
In fact, today he says that getting fired with no safety net was the best thing that ever happened to him – despite the stress, it gave him an opportunity to rebuild and redesign his life.

One year after being on the edge of financial ruin, Jonathan had replaced his job, working as a six-figure SEO consultant. But with his rolodex overflowing with local businesses and their demands getting higher and higher, he knew that he had to take his hands off the wheel.
That’s one of the big takeaways from his experience. Lifestyle design can’t just be about a job replacing income, because often, you’re replicating the stress and misery that comes with that lifestyle too!

Thanks to smart planning and personal discipline, he started from scratch again – with a focus on repeatable, passive income that created lifestyle freedom.
He was more successful than he could have possibly expected. He traveled the world, helped friends and family, and moved to an island in the South Pacific.
Now, he’s devoted himself to breaking down every hurdle entrepreneurs face at every stage of their development, from developing mental strength and resilience in the depths of depression and anxiety, to developing financial and business literacy, to building a concrete plan to escape the 9-to-5, all the way down to the nitty-gritty details of teaching what you need to build a business of your own.

In a digital world packed with “experts,” there are few people with the experience to tell you how things really work, why they work, and what’s actually working in the online business world right now.

Jonathan doesn’t just have the experience, he has it in a variety of spaces. A best-selling author, a ”Ghostwriter to the Gurus” who commands sky-high rates due to his ability to deliver captivating work in a hurry, and a video producer who helps small businesses share their skills with their communities.
He’s also the founder of the Serve No Master podcast, a weekly show that’s focused on financial independence, networking with the world’s most influential people, writing epic stuff online, and traveling the world for cheap.

All together, it makes him one of the most captivating and accomplished people in the lifestyle design world, sharing the best of what he knows with total transparency, as part of a mission to free regular people from the 9-to-5 and live on their own terms.
Learn from his successes and failures and Serve No Master.

Important Links:

About Jonathan Greene

TBT 104 | Work Wherever You WantBorn in Los Angeles, raised in Nashville, educated in London – Jonathan Green has spent years wandering the globe as his own boss – but it didn’t come without a price. Like most people, he struggled through years of working in a vast, unfeeling bureaucracy.

And after the backstabbing and gossip of the university system threw him out of his job, he was “totally devastated” – stranded far away from home without a paycheck coming in. Despite having to hang on to survival with his fingernails, he didn’t just survive, he thrived.
In fact, today he says that getting fired with no safety net was the best thing that ever happened to him – despite the stress, it gave him an opportunity to rebuild and redesign his life.

One year after being on the edge of financial ruin, Jonathan had replaced his job, working as a six-figure SEO consultant. But with his rolodex overflowing with local businesses and their demands getting higher and higher, he knew that he had to take his hands off the wheel.
That’s one of the big takeaways from his experience. Lifestyle design can’t just be about a job replacing income, because often, you’re replicating the stress and misery that comes with that lifestyle too!

Thanks to smart planning and personal discipline, he started from scratch again – with a focus on repeatable, passive income that created lifestyle freedom.
He was more successful than he could have possibly expected. He traveled the world, helped friends and family, and moved to an island in the South Pacific.
Now, he’s devoted himself to breaking down every hurdle entrepreneurs face at every stage of their development, from developing mental strength and resilience in the depths of depression and anxiety, to developing financial and business literacy, to building a concrete plan to escape the 9-to-5, all the way down to the nitty-gritty details of teaching what you need to build a business of your own.

In a digital world packed with “experts,” there are few people with the experience to tell you how things really work, why they work, and what’s actually working in the online business world right now.

Jonathan doesn’t just have the experience, he has it in a variety of spaces. A best-selling author, a ”Ghostwriter to the Gurus” who commands sky-high rates due to his ability to deliver captivating work in a hurry, and a video producer who helps small businesses share their skills with their communities.
He’s also the founder of the Serve No Master podcast, a weekly show that’s focused on financial independence, networking with the world’s most influential people, writing epic stuff online, and traveling the world for cheap.

All together, it makes him one of the most captivating and accomplished people in the lifestyle design world, sharing the best of what he knows with total transparency, as part of a mission to free regular people from the 9-to-5 and live on their own terms.
Learn from his successes and failures and Serve No Master.

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