Via https://newsapi.org online business online marketing online business opportunities BiggerPockets Business Podcast 43: Financial Freedom Through Multiple Streams of Income with Yaro Starak

Via https://newsapi.org  online business  online marketing  online business opportunities BiggerPockets Business Podcast 43: Financial Freedom Through Multiple Streams of Income with Yaro Starak

Via https://newsapi.org online business online marketing online business opportunities

Do you value freedom and time above all else? Are you craving a lifestyle doing what’s truly most important to you, while financially supporting yourself, your family, your hobbies, and your adventures?

Today’s guest has done just that, paving his own way and achieving freedom on many levels: financial, time, and mental. He’s taught thousands of people how to do the same. Today, he shares how you can do it, too!

Yaro Starak—an online entrepreneur earning a full-time income from the internet since 2004—walks us through his evolution of multiple businesses, identifying potential opportunities, and taking steps with minimal risk to start additional ventures. He debunks myths about passive income and digs deeply into the “how” of making a “laptop lifestyle” work.

Yaro gives actionable tips to identify areas in which you’re an expert, then use that expertise to earn income by sharing that information with others. He tells us the lessons he’s learned along the way: from early goals of simply making money to intentional, conscious decisions to do something you love to working with people you really enjoy.

And make sure you listen for Yaro’s recommendation on how to fast-track learning the ins and outs of a business you’re passionate about, closing your gaps in knowledge, and increasing awareness of how everything works before wasting time and energy charging full-speed ahead.

Check him out, and subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast so you won’t miss our next show!

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J:

And let’s welcome Yaro Starak to the show. How are you doing today Yaro?

Yaro:

I’m great thanks for having me guys, looking forward to it.

Carol:

Us too. Thank you so much for being here today. Yaro, seriously. You have truly accomplished what a lot of new entrepreneurs are looking for. New entrepreneurs seized in entrepreneurs all of the above, which is the ability to create multiple ventures and multiple income streams and this has allowed you to travel and work from anywhere in the whole entire world that all just didn’t happen overnight. That came with a lot of planning, a lot of hard work, a lot of experience, and we really want to dig in, because I know our listeners want to be in the same position you’re in, and they really want to learn from you. So are you cool if we explore that path?

Yaro:

Let’s talk for three hours, let’s do it.

Carol:

Great, I love it. I love it. So let’s set the stage for everyone just a little bit. How and when did you determine that entrepreneurship and specifically creating lifestyle businesses was really the right path for you?

Yaro:

Yeah, I was lucky. I was 18 in 1998, and we all know the .com boom was really in its heyday then so an 18 year old, I just entered university, I didn’t have the internet really until I entered university in Brisbane Australia where I grew up, and it’s the combination of access to the internet, everyone’s doing business around you, or at least in the news you’re hearing about eBay and Amazon and everything else that was no longer successful companies, the pets.com and so on. So I certainly was in love with the internet, and I wasn’t necessarily thinking I’m going to be an online entrepreneur, I was actually just trying to avoid a full-time job. For me, that was the main goal. I wasn’t sure what vehicle it would be. I wasn’t going to suddenly win the lotto or inherit money, so I knew there’d be something I’d have to do, I just didn’t want a boss I didn’t want to get up to an alarm clock.

Yaro:

From there I thought maybe I’ll have a restaurant maybe I’ll have internet café, physical businesses, but thankfully, I really thank God that the timing was right that I was able to really dive into the internet when it was just becoming a place for business, a place for commerce and have all that kind of influence. Not that I figured out what to do straight away, but I did not study my degree. I was pushing aside the textbooks to spend time in newsgroups online rather than try and get top marks. I was just I got to get through with a basic pass so I can spend time playing on the internet and eventually building a website, but really the goal, and why I think I’ve been more lifestyle entrepreneur is not having a job, but also I saw other entrepreneurs who were working harder than people who had a job, 12 hour days, no holidays working on weekends. The buck stops with them. So I felt like there’s got to be a happy medium here.

Yaro:

And of course, I was reading books about passive income, that E Myth obviously this rich dad poor dad. It’s all about finding ways to make enough money to do what you want in life, to travel, to support yourself, but then not be tied to anything for 12 hours a day. That was my first goal anyway. It took a while to figure it out, that’s where we started.

J:

It’s interesting, because we use the term like entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, we talk about being a business owner, and I think we always assume that there’s a definition of that, but what a lot of us don’t realize until we get into it, and really start digging in is there’s actually multiple definitions. Warren Buffet is an entrepreneur, Elon Musk is an entrepreneur, Bill Gates is an entrepreneur, but a lot of times when we talk about entrepreneurship we’re not talking about wanting to build a billion dollar company where we’re working 80 or 100 hours a week for the next 30 years. We often use the term lifestyle business to describe that other type of entrepreneur and you touched on some interesting concepts there, you touched on passive income, you touched on being able to have freedom. That’s a big takeaway there. Can you talk to us a little bit about what that other form of entrepreneurship that a lot of us look towards is all about. What is that lifestyle business? What is passive income? What is freedom? What’s the alternative to doing what Bill Gates does?

Yaro:

Yeah, I mean I think I define it as your startup real world company versus your lifestyle business. Back then there wasn’t a definition like that though honestly. There was just entrepreneur, and there’s this thing called passive income, which doesn’t have to be from business, we all know real estate investing was probably the most common form of passive income I heard about when I was first learning about. Get some properties, earn some rental income and that’s passive apparently. But I didn’t have any capital, I wasn’t really interested in getting into property at that time. For me it was like how do I find a business model that can generate income where the labor especially for me personally was at an acceptable level?

Yaro:

I wasn’t afraid of the hustle as they call it today and working hard to build something up, but I didn’t want that to be a permanent situation like if I stopped doing that hustle, does the income dry up pretty quickly. And I was young, I didn’t know, hindsight now 20 years ago I didn’t really understand the difference of the business models you can choose. For me it was just okay, can I not have to go to an office, that’s step one for obviously your freedom. Can you run your business from a laptop.

Yaro:

Two, is there enough money to pay your bills, feed yourself, and then hopefully some more. Pay for the flights, the accommodation. Back then there was no Airbnb so it was hotels or backpack or whatever. And then it’s what are you actually doing too? Are you eCommerce, are you selling something physical, are you doing software. For me I wasn’t a programmer, I wasn’t really anything if I really think back to that time. I didn’t have the sense that I would write blogs, or start a software business or an eCommerce business, because none of that was in my wheel house, it was just like all right I like magazines.

Yaro:

So my actual first ever website was a Magic: The Gathering collectable card game online magazine. And that was just a game I played when I was in high school and early university. So it made sense that was my first website. Never got rich from it, but it was the first income stream I made. And that kind of gave me this window, okay I understand this kind of website, it’s about content, it’s about growing an audience, I can make money from sponsorships, advertising, I can make money from selling my own cards. That was a little bit of eCommerce, but very, very basic. And that was the door opening. But then you learn okay, so the margins on cards and the audience size of this very small collectable card game is never going to earn me the kind of money I need.

Yaro:

So that opened my eyes to the point that I need a business model that could potentially make more money, and then everything kind of builds on it, like obviously the next 10 years I had two or three different businesses, but they all grow on the previous learnings from the past business to sort of fill the gaps about what I was looking for. At the start, it was all about passive income, but then it became more things, like I want to do something I enjoy, I want to work with people I like, so the other considerations became important.

J:

Yeah, and one of the things that strikes me as we’re having this discussion is again instead of building a business that supports you forever, you built multiple businesses, so it wasn’t just passive income, but it was multiple streams of income, and it seems to me there are a lot of advantages there, one if something stops working you go into one area, you mentioned magazines, and I don’t know if you were doing a physical magazine back then, but you’re certainly not doing a physical magazine right now. Things come and go so it’s very possible that certain streams of income can dry up just as the winds change, but you had multiple streams, you had different businesses you didn’t put all your eggs in any basket. Was that a conscious choice that you made, or did you just kind of fall into different things at different times?

Yaro:

You know, the idea of a conscious choice I think is an evolution. It’s the evolution of your consciousness as an entrepreneur I think is the best way to put it, because I’ll be honest, for the first seven years, I was a basket case. I wasn’t making the kind of money I wanted, I wasn’t sure what would work. I had what people [inaudible 00:10:45]because everything was becoming more accessible. I was doing Magic: The Gathering card site, but then this other person was doing eCommerce and making so much more money, and then this other person starts a website on a different topic and makes so much more money, so I would go oh I could start one of those, and I switch ideas in 24 hours, but then I realized that’s another business and I have to sink another six months to get it started, so I go back to where I see a little bit of money coming in. From an emotional standpoint, absolute wreck. I didn’t feel very secure, and I didn’t do what everyone else around me did, which is go get a job after graduating from university. It was pretty daunting in that regard, bucking the trend.

Yaro:

But the conscious choice does evolve. So card game business, I learned not a big enough niche, not a big enough profit margin. I discover selling services online, so I start an essay editing company there’s a long story behind that, but the short version is I just realized that international students needed help with their essays and I could basically have a middleman company connecting freelance editors, usually university professors, and that was a bigger margin product, so I could charge $300 for editing an essay and pay 150 to a contractor, and keep 150 myself, I’m not delivering the service I’m just the middle man, I actually wanted to be the eBay of selling services at one point. That’s what worked, selling essay editing. And that allowed a vehicle to get to full-time income. Not rich, but it allowed me to actually live and pay my bills.

Yaro:

And also, I was getting no longer interested in this card game. I was exiting as a player, exiting as a collector. It didn’t make sense to own that business, I was looking for something new. That was the first thing I ever sold was that card game website. And then if you fast forward, the thing with the essay editing business, did not enjoy the process, didn’t have the motivation to grow it to the next level, so it’s like a business is only as good as you care about growing it.

Yaro:

And yeah, sure I had multiple income streams, but both of them were not going to go anywhere if I didn’t care to put energy into it, and that’s when to be clear though I was looking for what today we call a four hour work week. Before Tim Ferris wrote his book, I was looking for that. You can call it the E Myth you can call it anything. Passive income, it was just that high leverage business, and the essay editing company was the first taste of that, because I was completely virtual, I had no physical product, I eventually outsourced the management of email in that business because that was the last thing I was trapped to doing. So once I had an email manager in placer there, which kind of funny, because all the way today I run a company managing people’s emails, so it connects all the way back to the early days.

Yaro:

But that was the first taste of breaking free and being able to travel and having an income stream. But then I wish everyone could get to this point. If you’re lucky enough to be an entrepreneur who creates a business where your bills are covered, and you have your entire day to do whatever you want with it, roughly speaking, I maybe had to spend half an hour on my business, suddenly you have this question what do I do with my life now. I’ve actually gotten that money issue, I’m not rich, but at least I don’t have to work. And it’s like I can’t just watch TV all day, or hang around. Everyone else has got a job. They’re all doing stuff. That’s when you realize, you better enjoy some part of what you’re doing as well if it’s your business you want to enjoy, then you better be running a business you like.

Yaro:

So the consciousness of all that too, I need time freedom, I need income freedom, but I need the pursuit of something that I’m passionate about, even if it’s just a role within one of these companies or managing multiple companies, but it’s got to be something I’m jazzed about getting up and doing every day. And that was an evolution. First I want to get money, then I want to get money, but I want time freedom, and then I got to do something I enjoy. I think that’s almost like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It kind of lines up a lot with that.

Carol:

Definitely. Definitely. I really love how you break, you almost break apart these three different types of freedom. The money freedom, the time freedom, the mental freedom, and how you talk about this whole process was really an evolution especially during those first seven years. So a lot of us haven’t had all those experiences of building all those different companies, going through all those trials and tribulations seeing what works, seeing what didn’t work. Can you share with us. What are some of those things that you actively started doing that you would recommend any entrepreneur does to begin achieving those different types of freedom, to get them out of working all the time as an entrepreneur, and really start taking some active steps to be able to achieve the type of freedom that you have.

Yaro:

I think it depends on what you personally bring to the table. I think if I had the time to do over again talking to my 18, 19, 20 year old self, or even my 40 year old self now who was maybe deciding to get into entrepreneurship for the first time, I actually look at freelancing as a much better starting point, simply because I could step into someone else’s business, provide a service within their company, learn what they do and how they do it.

Yaro:

For me a lot of the problems were gaps in knowledge and awareness of how things worked, which I pretty much solved myself, but that’s a really slow way of doing it. That’s why it took seven years to figure a lot of things out. You don’t have to do it that slowly. You can go find people now, that’s the beautiful thing. Not just sure you can watch some YouTube videos, you can read some books, you can ask questions in a Reddit forum or whatever you like, but the real learning is seeing it in action. If you can be inside someone else’s company who’s doing something you want to do, if you want to do eCommerce maybe work for someone in eCommerce. If you want to sell SaaS do something with SaaS, software as a service for those that don’t know. That gives you a window into an effective system and how it works. How are they getting traffic? Who is building the website? [inaudible 00:17:13]product delivery? What are the different elements in place to make this actually work.

Yaro:

Back then I was like, I remember when I started I thought you come up with a product idea, you manufacture it, then you put an ad on TV and people come and buy it, and then you’re set. That’s all you have to do. Good product, you win. And maybe there’s an ounce of truth to that, but there’s so many more layers to it than that, and I had to go through okay selling cards to selling a service to then blogging and selling information products, to really open my eyes and then of course get exposure to so many other entrepreneurs, because thankfully now and for me this didn’t really happen until the mid 2000s, there were events you could go to and speak to other people and go oh this guy is making a lot of money doing this thing called pay per click arbitrage, and I was like oh you join affiliate programs, and you promote them on Google ad words, and you pay $1 for an ad, but you make $1.50 on the affiliate commission, and that’s arbitraging, and they make thousands of dollars a day doing this.

Yaro:

And I was like, I could do that, but I don’t know if I’d be motivated to become a pay per click marketer, but at least I understand conceptually what that is, so a lot of it’s like learning what you know you don’t know yet. Then you fill in the gaps then you decide okay I think I understand how this works. And there was a moment for me, I remember it dawned on me I was reading so many business books like the one minute millionaire and everything sounded great, but then I realized I had a friend who was not an entrepreneur. I said to him, “I think I figured out how business works.” And I was realizing it’s about learning how to sell, having something that provides more value than the cost of production, and then going to where the audience is that wants this and using words to sell his product. And then you just do that well, there’s a lot of moving parts, and there’s a lot of tools you got to learn, but conceptually that’s all there is to it.

Yaro:

For me, that eventually became start a blog, grow an email list, and sell an online course. That a real big breakthrough business that sold over a million dollars worth of product, really started to have that lifestyle freedom because of that, and that was kind of linked to that breakthrough of getting the awareness of how the system worked first. That’s a big breakthrough, and that can take some experience, a bit of exposure, to what people do already.

J:

And I want to come back and I want to talk about the blogging business, because I know that you’ve made a large part of your career and success all about blogging, but I do want to first followup on something that you said. I love you’re basically boiling down to what business is. I often say really business is about two things. Building a great product, to being able to sell it. And like you said, there’s a whole lot of moving parts around it, but at the end of the day if you do those two things, that’s what builds a business. You seem to have fallen into several businesses, and you mentioned you only do things that you get some enjoyment out of because obviously you have a lot of time and you have to. Were most of your businesses, and I don’t want to go back to that question about conscious choice again, because I know where that’s going to go, but were most of your businesses, did you think for long periods of time, what do I want to be doing, or did you do due diligence and say what businesses are good businesses, or did you just kind of fall into certain businesses and try different things and see what worked? How deliberate were you in choosing what businesses that you ended up falling into?

Yaro:

I think I need that box that says all of the above for everything that you just said, and I’ll tick that one, because at some point in time I did everything there. I stumbled into some things. As the editing company started because I saw an article about a guy doing essay editing in Harvard University, it was in Yahoo Print Magazine of all things back in the early 2000s. Card game business, I was a card game player, so for me it was just I know this topic I want to explore it. But then it became more intentional, I’m like okay I discovered I like writing, so I want to really leverage that. And it became all right, let’s create blog posts, let’s do courses, I love the business model so it became really intentional too, because profit margin on a sale of $1,000 digital course was kind of like $950 once you take out the transaction fees. You don’t get that from any physical product or retail restaurants all these things. Very unique. Maybe insurance is the only product where it’s almost 100% profit margin, besides salaries and so on.

Yaro:

So it became more intentional over time. And I wish I could tell the listener try and be as intentional as you can from day one, that’s ideal, but you always build on what you’ve done in your life prior, so there’s always more of an element, that first business you do is only as strong as the inputs around you, and if you’ve never been an entrepreneur, it’s probably going to be the industry you worked in, the people you’ve been exposed to, the books you’ve read, the YouTube channels you watched, you’re influenced by that.

Yaro:

And that’s a starting point, but until you start the business you don’t really have that oh maybe I shouldn’t be trying to sell this type of product, because I didn’t realize the profit margin is never going to be big enough to work with today’s environment in terms of advertising or something like that. Nowadays, way more intentional because it’s case of low hanging fruit. What am I good at? What do I have access to in resources? Where do I see an opportunity in the marketplace that could be very profitable and build something around that. But at the same time, probably yourselves and every guest you’ve had on this show, if you’re an entrepreneur, you kind of get excited about every idea you come up with. Even if it’s not intentional, you’re walking down the street and you see a problem.

Yaro:

I always remember in Steve Jobs’ biography when he was in hospital getting treatments towards the end of his life, he was complaining about I think it was the oxygen technology for reading how much oxygen is in your blood, he said, “This is ridiculous. This interface is not efficient.” There was a screen with the buttons on it, and he was redesigning the medical equipment in the hospital while he was getting treated. He’s a hardware buy and he’s all about interfaces, so that made sense, but he’s not in the medical space. But he couldn’t help himself, and I think that’s something that entrepreneurs always have. We just look for opportunities or inefficiencies in the world and that’s what we want to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a business you should go after there, but you got to make the right choice for where you are in the moment in your life.

Carol:

Absolutely. And you are so right. As entrepreneurs we are always looking for those opportunities, we always do get excited about the next great idea. I would really like to talk more about the intentionality of those decisions, specifically in the realm of the blogging and the online courses since [inaudible 00:24:17]really was able to begin providing you with this freedom lifestyle that you had been seeking for such a long time. That said, what are some of the tips you might be able to provide for our listeners who do see [inaudible 00:24:36]there is a need I am able to meet, how would they go about doing that from the beginning? What are the steps to get going?

Yaro:

Yeah, that’s what I spent I guess the majority of my entrepreneur career is teaching knowledge experts how to turn knowledge into digital products and sell online. It’s usually people who come from a background of coaching or consulting or maybe they just got good at something in life, now they want to translate that into a digital business. Thankfully today, it’s pros and cons. It’s very crowded, but the process is laid out in front of you. You have to decide what problem you’re going to help people solve, and usually it’s like one of those Maslow hierarchy things, you’re going to solve a bad back or help people lose weight, or make money through some sort of system, or maybe relationships and dating. Those core human needs, so I’m always with my coaching in the past I’ve said go where the pain is strong enough that they’re motivated to look for an answer and spend money to solve the problem.

Yaro:

For some people, for most people that’s a refinement process. Me too, when I started it was like I started blogging and then I was riding the wave of the first bloggers in 2004, ’05, ’06, ’07. By 2007 I’ve got an audience and I’ve done a lot over the last two years of blogging. I’m like I could teach something with blogging, but I’m like what am I positioning myself as. And I said, “Okay, what’s the most important pain point?” I think it’s traffic. So I started with traffic as my first area, and then I got refined over time. You need to do that. Whatever space you’re in, you want to try and find that pain point that you’re going to go after first. And then the system is actually the easy part.

Yaro:

Often the harder part is getting clarity on what you want to be to people. Once you’ve done that, the system is okay I’m going to give away free information, to build trust, get exposure for my ideas, and help people, and then once they’ve gotten help from me they start to trust me, and they see me as the person who knows how to solve [inaudible 00:26:46]they’re going to be the ones inclined to buy from you as well. They then become customers, maybe buying a course, usually for people who are new to it, they actually start with selling coaching, because it’s easier to sell your time first, one on one phone calls to help people solve a problem, that gives you some initial cashflow, initial research about your audience, but you’re ultimately trying to get to a digital product that you sell without you having to be the person delivering the value.

Yaro:

And then you refine. Today a common formula for that is you’re blogging, so you’re writing blog posts, maybe doing videos sharing them, podcasting like we’re doing now, getting attention people discover you, then you’re getting the onto an email list with a clear focus. It’s I’m going to show you how to get your firs 1,000 listeners on your podcast email list, and then they go through that free training, trust you, they benefit from you, they maybe apply some of your advice, and then the next time you’re opening up your course, they’re already pre-qualified and interested and trust you, and then you send people to a sales page with all that wonderful sales copy and videos and graphics and testimonials. Everything to prove that you are legitimate and then they buy your course.

Yaro:

And then it’s simply a case of looking at that as a funnel as they call it. A sales funnel and looking where in that funnel you might need to improve things. Am I not getting enough traffic at the start, or are not enough people joining the email list as a first step to engage with me, or a second step really, then are not enough people going from the email list to the sales page to buy the product. Could be a webinar, a lot of people do webinars today as their main tool for selling and then when they [inaudible 00:28:30]page 10 buy. I’ve got a 1% conversion rate, and that could be good enough, because if you can get 10,000 to hit that sales page, you’ve got 100 customers paying $1,000 for a course, you just made $100,000.

Yaro:

That’s pretty much what as an overview I’ve taught and helped people implement in all kinds of spaces, speed reading, curing acne, women in business, skiing, there’s just so many different topics over the years that it’s been an effective business model, and you can see it. You don’t have to ask me, you can just go online everyone’s trying to help everyone with courses nowadays, so it’s a popular thing to do.

Carol:

This is great though, and I love how you’re talking about the same system and process can be applied across industries, that said, there are a lot of moving components within each of those. I’m just thinking about just if one tiny little itty, bitty component of all those things, podcasting like we’re doing right now, and we know how much of an effort even that one component takes. How are you doing all that and living this lifestyle? Are you magically doing everything an hour a day? Have you hired a ton of people along the way? How are you logistically making all those pieces of the puzzle happen?

Yaro:

Yes, a good one. It looks easy on the surface, but you’re running really hard up a mountain at the start. My story, and this is really accurate for most people, there’s this first phase, which could be a year, could be two years, you don’t know how long it is, but you’re just getting what’s in your head into content and getting an audience up and running. I did that with a blog and I wrote articles on … I told stories. So my first blog post were this is me running my magic of the gathering website. This is how I sold cards, this is how I got traffic. Then I wrote about the essay editing company. This is how I found contractors, and how I decided my pricing model. And that caught on, people were really interested in what I was doing with online businesses, and then with that audience after a couple years I was like okay, I’m going to sell my first product.

Yaro:

It worked, but then I was trying to do what I guess we started talking about with the podcast was how do I get as much return from this without my labor turning into 12 hour days, because I wanted to basically live what I called a two hour workday. I actually registered that domain name before the four hour work week and Tim just got in there and did it first, so I was like darn. But the key to making it work with this business model, and it’s not for every business model, but for a knowledge expert is using as much technical automation as you can.

Yaro:

To give people a real world example, as I am talking to you right now, people are going to Google searching keywords, very specific ones, and my blog showing up. I’m getting a bit of organic free traffic from Google, a small percentage of those people are then joining the various email lists I have, and those are email sequences of information that I wrote, years ago. I create it once, and it keeps providing value over time. Same with the blog posts, you write them once, keeps providing value over time. So that happens automatically. Even like I said, I’m talking to you right now, that’s happening. No humans are involved, it’s all technology, except for the person studying the materials of course.

Yaro:

And then those email lists are taking people through a sales process too so they’re offering, whether it’s an ebook or my course or my membership site, and those things sell without me being a part of that. That took a while. It’s writing sales pages, it’s creating webinars, or I have one main webinar, it might be writing a free report, it might be doing a video sequence. Nowadays, you focus on one to start with. Don’t do everything, just have one machine that works try and get it working as best you can. And that’s how most of my money was made. There’s a little bit of launches too, you get a partner involved who might promote your product, so that gives you a new audience, but a lot of it comes almost as a compound effect, because you start succeeding, and then because of that you become known for something then you start getting invited to do partnerships, to appear on podcasts, in your industry of course. Maybe a collaboration on a YouTube channel, this means you’re getting more audience back, you’re getting better ranking in Google, so more organic free traffic.

Yaro:

So it all starts to be this flywheel for those have read good to grade and it compounds, but you have to build the selling machine so that whenever you’re getting exposure, people are going through all this content and buying your course. I remember the first time I experienced this from a fully automated, I didn’t touch it experience. It was, to be honest my first one ever was an affiliate promotion, wasn’t even my own product, but I was out with my friends playing basically pitch and putt golf. It’s like a small version of golf, not mini golf, but in between and I got a ding on my Blackberry, this is how long ago it was, and I made an affiliate sale from a blog post I had written a week ago. And I was like oh my God, I’m on a golf course, I just made it was like $700. This is like a cliché TV ad. You want to make money while you’re playing golf. I just made money when I’m playing golf.

Yaro:

It proved that it worked, and that’s only because of the internet, only do we have that opportunity today, because of the way the internet works. I love it.

J:

Yeah, and I think it’s if the story stopped there, okay, it’s great, you found a niche, you became very good at blogging, you created online courses, intellectual property. Basically you created something that you could market and sell over and over and over and you’ll probably be making money from that for the next 10, 20, 30 years, but you didn’t stop there. You started other companies, and you started at least one other company that I know about that wasn’t an intellectual property company, you started a company and you mentioned it earlier in the show that was all about helping people keep their mailboxes, their inboxes their email boxes clean, so can you talk to us a little bit about how you kind of made that transition from I’m going to create this intellectual property I’m going to create a course, I’m going to market it through blogs and podcasting to I’m actually going to create a company that’s providing a service, which is a completely different business model, and you’re also managing that.

Yaro:

Okay. It hearkens back to what we spoken about already with this podcast where I was an entrepreneur looking for opportunities, or problems to fix, I connected with a person who I thought would be a good business partner, I’m a big fan of partnerships where I bring an audience, and they bring a talent, and they can combine to launch a new company, I’ve done that a few times now. In this case, it really cemented because of a networking event that I went to in Vancouver, six people all entrepreneurs at a dinner table, talking about problems in their business, and the woman to my left said, “I wake up and I’ve got to spend a couple hours doing my email and then when I go home at night I do another couple of hours to do my email. I never get on top of it.” I said to her, “Well, I only do my email once a month.” And she look at me, “How is that even possible? What do you mean you do your email once a month, no one does that. Everyone does their email everyday.” That’s what she thought.

Yaro:

I said, “Well, no because there’s another human being going in there every day and doing the 90 to 95% of the messages that I don’t need to do, and the 5% that maybe are just for me get put in a folder, and I do them once a month.” It sounds simple when I explain it that way, but most people don’t want to set up that kind of process. I went to Claire, who was my existing email support person in my blogging business and said, “Do you want to test this idea?” I think this is really important, because when you start and something succeeds in a business, you then have the potential to do new product, certainly, but you can launch and spin off new businesses, because of the audience you now can reach because of the knowledge you have about that audience, their problems. I knew my audience was full of entrepreneurs, professionals, busy people who have too much email and they’re used to outsourcing their technology issues, I’m sure you guys are not the ones doing the editing of this podcast all by yourself, you’re not the ones writing the transcript all by yourself.

Yaro:

Yet for some reason most people do their email all by themselves still. Claire and I said, “You want to test this.” It’s not like we’re launching a big business. All we did was let’s go to my email list and say, “Hey, the person who does my email is going to be available to take on a couple of clients to do your email.” We did that, two people turned out to be good test clients. Claire took over their inboxes, we find out how much we can charge, what people are willing to pay, meanwhile, I’m still running my blogging business, all I did was bring customers to Claire to deliver the service, and then six months later we’re like this seems to be working, so you want to take it to the next level. Build a website, do some more marketing, bring on our next couple of clients. Then we start the real business of business building, hiring more people to actually deliver the email management services, and building a team around providing this service.

Yaro:

All of that was proof of concept. Does this work for multiple types of business owners? Can we use the same systems that are in my business for other people? Thankfully, having run the essay editing company, I knew you could do this kind of service arbitrage company where you got an agency, but you’re not the one delivering the services. You’re hiring contractors to provide the service. That was the same thing with inboxdone.com I should mention the name of the company we now run. Claire and I are the co-founders of it. We’ve had over about 20 people go through the business, some were with us for two years and haven’t stopped. Some come for a year and then they’re moving on. And it’s been a really great example of how you can find opportunities within something that’s already working.

Yaro:

That being said, I won’t do the whole story, but I did the same thing back in 2010 with an idea I had for a blog advertising social network that crashed and burned. I did same process, we built some basic version of some software with a co-founder of mine, told my audience to go use it, but the business model was just not financially sustainable. We have to put in tons of money to make it work before we could make anything back. With Inbox Done we get a client, we make revenue straight away, and we can deliver services straight away, so it just worked in that case. It doesn’t always work. But in this case, Inbox Done is up and running, and it’s actually the main company I’m promoting at the moment, because after 10 years of blog coaching, I still do it, but kind of moving away from it more and more as I do other things. A bit of angel investing and property investing since we were talking on the Bigger Pocket podcast here, things like that.

J:

So you’re running a real business. You said you’re promoting that business, and you’re looking to scale that business, talk to us a little bit about how you’re doing that. You had, I’m sorry I forget her name that was-

Yaro:

Claire.

J:

Claire, thank you. Claire is one person. I’m guessing Claire doesn’t want to work 140 hours a week, so as you get more clients, how are you finding more Claire’s and who is training the Claire’s and who is managing the business and who is marketing the business? I assume you’re still focusing on your other businesses and your blogging and your courses, so how are you handling this without spending full-time on this business?

Yaro:

Well, we didn’t really mention I sold my card game business, I sold my essay editing company, I kept the coaching blog business because that was as we explained sort of automated, with Inbox Done Claire, she clones herself is the simplest way to answer the question. Yeah, she took on the first two clients, but then she became more of the manager, operational hiring person. Hired our first person, then our second. We actually got a team of 10 now people including Claire who manage various inboxes, and that’s actually what she’s become the best at, hiring and training people to do inbox management, where I’ve been the one spreading the gospel. So I come on a podcast like this one and I say to the audience, “Are you drowning in email? Have you ever considered hiring someone to step in and do most of your email for you?” Kind of like a [inaudible 00:43:43]have a good look inside your inbox and ask yourself do I need to be the one who does every single message in here. I could even ask you guys, do you guys do your own email still or do you have help in that area?

Carol:

Sorry, it’s muted. I’m totally doing my own email and I’m pretty sure J is as well, right honey?

J:

Unfortunately I’m still doing … We’ve actually talked about hiring somebody literally to come in and spend half their time doing our email for us. So yes, you have a solution to a problem that we didn’t know there was a solution out there for.

Yaro:

Yeah, and that’s my problem right there. People don’t really go looking for this, so I have had to kind of stand up, show up on podcasts, certainly work other methods but podcasting actually has been one of the best methods to spread the word. So to answer the question of what I’m doing, I’ve been doing that for a couple of years, going on podcasts, certainly writing some articles for our website, a bit of social media, getting our first testimonial videos up of our happy clients, all that business building stuff. But Claire has been busy making sure our clients are really happy, making sure our staff are really happy, and building the nuts and bolts of delivering a valuable service.

Yaro:

Really, I go get the word out, I do a sales call and then it gets passed on to the onboarding team run by Claire and Carly our onboarding manager and then you get your inbox manager. If it was you guys we’d probably hand over one inbox manager for both your inboxes and then they’d go to work learning what J and Carol’s email looks like, building a knowledge base and building some systems to deal with your email, getting you comfortable with the idea of someone else being the person replying to your messages and then hopefully after a handover period of a month or two, you’re happy, and suddenly you’ve got whatever it is, that extra hour or two or three that you used to spend in the inbox, and that to me is why I love the business. Because you can spend that time exercising when maybe you didn’t before, or with your family or building your next product or starting a new business or reading a book. All these possibilities that come to you when you get that off your plate.

Yaro:

So yeah, it’s a new business. I still call it a start up, and I think it’s something that, especially Claire she still works in it as her main job and it will be like that for a while, but it is fun and it’s such a natural spinoff. I’ve been teaching what we’ve been talking about, how to break free and this business helps you break free from email, so it’s an easy sell to my existing audience.

Carol:

Yeah, I really love there are all these interwoven concepts that keep coming back, like all of this freedom, all of this evolution all of these launching spin offs, doing what you already know in maximizing that potential. I’m curious to know, you’ve got Claire, you’ve got your teams, you mentioned you’re an angel investor, you’re a property investor, you put your money to work in different ways after you’ve sold businesses and all those things to create this lifestyle where you are truly free with your time, you are truly free with your locations. I would love to know some really good solid tips on how to really live that lifestyle. Full on tactical things like the basics like WiFi and laptops, but just an overall managing your time so that you can still get things done when you need to. Things like I said like hardware and software concerns. Any tips that may seem obvious to you now, because you’ve been doing it for such a long time, but for those of us who are really new in this whole freedom type of space, things that we can tactically do to thrive in that type of environment.

Yaro:

Okay, well the hardware and the technology, it actually almost doesn’t matter as long as it works. I’ve got my Mac Book Pro laptop, I’ve got the RS Technical microphone for when we’re talking, that all sticks in my suitcase, and I only have carry on luggage. I’m in San Diego right now, I’m escaping the Montreal winter, but I’m off to L.A. and then San Francisco, and then Tokyo and then probably Hawaii, and then back to Montreal when the snow is melted. It’s all very portable I think is the most important thing, but really why it works is, A, you’ve got your team. And yes we communicate with Slack and I’m talking to them every day. I’ll go to a café, and I’ll open up Slack and Claire will tell me Inbox Done things, and then my current team from my blogging business will be like, “Hey the next podcast is ready. This person wants to do a joint venture to promote your course.” So I’ll work with them on that, and work with my tech person to build a new landing page for that joint venture.

Yaro:

I think the most important lesson I can pass on for those who want that more travel portable lifestyles business is you’ve got to get good, and this came about for me for a couple of reasons. So we all know, well maybe not everyone knows, but the 80/20 rule. I think you two probably have heard of the 80/20 rule. It’s become very well mainstream, partially because it’s in Ferris and the four hour work week topic. I learned about that from reading Richard Koch’s book the 80/20 Way. So I was like okay, there’s a few things I got to do right each day to get that large result, and the most important thing is not getting distracted by the lower return activity. Don’t go wasting time on social media if it doesn’t actually bring in customers. I have to find the parts of these businesses that work. For me that was like if I write a blog post or an email or create a product in the coaching business, that’s the most important activity so I should do that, as well as maybe relationships to find partnerships.

Yaro:

With Inbox Done we just have to get exposure on podcasts, so I want to talk on as many shows as possible. Although, Claire is starting to do that too. But we know that gives us the best return for new customers. This is for my roles. Obviously everyone has their own 80/20 activity, but for literally 10 years I used to say to myself have I written content today? If I have tick the box, it’s a good day, that’s all I needed to do to make sure things were moving forward, that wasn’t always possible when I didn’t have clarity on what I was doing. With the high leverage activities were, but then I combined it with another concept called the theory of constraints. Not quite as popular, but you might know it if you studied lean manufacturing.

Yaro:

I read about the theory of constraints, and I have a feeling those watching the video getting a book coming off the shelf right now from J, but the goal, yes. I love the theory of constraints because I was like if I marry the theory of constraints with the 80/20 rule. The theory of constraints tells me look at the system I’m building and what’s the most constrained element of it that’s slowing everything else down. That’s ultimately what the theory of constraints is, and then if I use the 80/20 rule to know what part of the system gives me the most leverage I can go okay here’s the weakest link that will be the biggest outcome, work on that next. I don’t have enough traffic, let’s do traffic, if I don’t have product let’s do product. If a launch is coming up, that’s a deadline that’s the most important thing. And that’s how I looked at everything over the last 15 years. What’s the weakest link in this business to get into the next phase of development and for that to happen obviously I have to understand the system I’m trying to build, and that’s where education, experience, taking courses, things like that can help.

Yaro:

But that’s how for me traveling, I can be in Japan knowing I want to go out there and spend really the most of my day exploring. I will spend two hours in a café answering the few questions I have to answer for my team, and doing that one constraint eliminating 80/20 task and I call that two hours my sprint. It’s the third concept I combine. That ones from programming and developing with engineers. 80/20 rule, theory of constraints, all implemented in a sprint that two hour a day and that has moved things forward, and that’s what makes me feel content too. If I don’t get those two hours I start to feel like the machines going to stop working and I’m going to possibly feel less, like I can’t just be a tourist all day I want to be creating and growing something. That’s kind of still how I live my life. Great people working with you and great systems that you’re applying.

J:

Wow, I absolutely love that. You hit three of my favorite topics all right there, the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, the theory of constraints and I held up a book for those that are on audio only there’s a book by a guy named Eliyahu Goldratt called The Gold. And it’s actually one of my favorite books. It’s all about bottle necks and theory of constraints.

Yaro:

You should listen to the audio version of that J if you haven’t.

J:

I have not.

Yaro:

Oh, it’s a story rather than they’ve got sound effects and different voices of people. It’s like a movie in a book. It’s great.

J:

Okay, now I know what I’m doing on our next vacation. And then you threw in some agile development in there, the sprints as well. You’ve hit on all cylinders. I just want to reiterate, because you kind of circled back you talked earlier about businesses about two things. It’s building great products and being able to sell them. When we talk about the 80/20 rule, that’s what the 80 should be. The 80 should be focused on or the 20 should be-

Yaro:

The 20, I think you mean.

J:

The 20 should be focused on-

Yaro:

Or the 1%.

J:

Right exactly. On those two things, and then all the other stuff like getting business cards and setting up your business and-

Yaro:

Your Instagram profile.

J:

Exactly, social media, all that’s the less important stuff. That’s absolutely fantastic, and I think that last answer from you basically summed up what differentiates successful entrepreneurs especially lifestyle entrepreneurs from everybody else. Thank you for that.

J:

Okay, I could ask 100 more questions but we are-

Carol:

100 million easily.

J:

We are running long on this, so if it’s okay with you, I’d love to jump into the final segment of the show that we call the four more, and that’s where we ask you the same four questions that we ask all of our guests, and then jump into the more part where you tell us a little bit more about where we can find it about what you’re doing and how we can connect with you. Sound good?

Yaro:

No. Yes.

Carol:

Start over.

J:

Somebody was bound to say that.

Yaro:

I’m contrarian.

J:

I am going to start with the first question and that is what was your very first or very worst job and what lessons did you learn from it?

Yaro:

As I said at the start of the interview, I tried to avoid full-time employment. I’ve never had a full-time job, I have had casual jobs. The worst one, I was packing mobile phone accessories into plastic and cardboard containers over a summer break for $9 an hour. That was probably the worst job. It wasn’t too bad, it wasn’t forever, but that was definitely the worst.

Carol:

Great, thank you. Okay, here’s my question, the second one is what would you say is that one defining moment, if you had to identify one defining moment where you realized that you just had an entrepreneurial itch that had to be taken care of?

Yaro:

I probably would say one defining moment, I feel like there was that reading Rich Branson’s Losing My Virginity biography as probably a 17 year old or 16 year old or something like that. I was like this lifestyle and way of living seems so much more fun than waking up at six a.m. to an alarm clock to go make $20 an hour doing repetitive tasks and not really growing just to make enough money to pay a mortgage. I could go on and on and on and then ask my boss when I’m allowed to have holidays. Richard Branson let’s start multiple businesses, let’s make as much money as I need, let’s work with creative people and try and fix problems around the planet and get to meet celebrities and politicians. Everything sounded so much better that entrepreneurship.

Yaro:

But I really think to be honest, that was also pie in the sky. For me, it was like I want to be able to move out of my mother’s house pay for the rent have a car and then be able to go traveling or sit at home and watch Star Trek for four hours that day while I cooked my own meal. For that to be possible there had to be some kind of income stream that was not based on a job. I think those lacking constraints as a young teenager that was the defining starting point for going after this and then seeing people like Richard Branson show that it’s possible at a grand scale obviously in his case.

J:

Awesome. Okay, question three, and this is where I’m going to ask for your favorite book, but I am going to make it a little harder, I’m not going to let you mention any of the books we’ve talked about. The Four Hour Work Week, the Goal, the E Myth, what’s a good book that a lot of people might not know about that you really like?

Yaro:

Okay, this is going to be totally left field, but I’m going to say the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch. I don’t know if it’s not entrepreneurship, I can see-

J:

It’s not entrepreneurship but that’s great. And I second it.

Yaro:

I wasn’t raised religious in any way, and I actually had an aversion to the word God in the title, but when I got it, this really helped with a lot of the negative side of being an entrepreneur, feeling lost, not making enough money, not sure if my idea would work, not sure my place in the universe, comparing myself to others, all the bigger emotional challenges that go with it, because there’s kind of more of a spiritual answer to some of that, and you kind of got to marry that with the nuts and bolts practicality of chasing money basically, right?

J:

I second it, and like you said, you do not need to be religious to appreciate the book.

Carol:

Excellent. Okay, here is your fourth question. What is something along the way in your personal or professional life, which for you very much blend together, that you have splurged on that was totally worth it?

Yaro:

Okay, so I don’t know if it’s the right answer to the question, but last year, or actually two years ago I went to Ukraine where my father’s from for the first time ever. I wasn’t ever planning on that, but just happened through a case of connections. Because of that, I met someone there again through connections and an opportunity to build a solar plant in Ukraine surfaced. I don’t know if that’s buying something for me, but in the case of fortuitous timing I had gambled on crypto currency during the rush of 2017 that was going on, so I had this lump of money that sure I could buy more property with it or start another business, but I was like this is in front of me, it’s green energy, it’s helping Ukraine it does return money to me, it’s a capital investment, it’s physical real world business that I hadn’t really done before so I bought a solar plant if that makes sense, we built a solar plant in Ukraine. That’s where I can say I’m a multi dimensional entrepreneur now.

Carol:

That’s a really cool splurge, wow. What were you going to say J?

J:

It makes me realize we didn’t dig in enough to all of your businesses, we didn’t have time to talk about all of them. There’s so much more. That was the four questions, now I want to get into the more part of the four more, and that’s where you tell our listeners where they can find out more about your businesses, more about you, how they can connect with you, and you mentioned you have at least one online course feel free to plug it there as well.

Yaro:

Yeah, I want to plug Inbox Done first, because I think for a lot of people listening in, if they’re drowning in email and they’ve got a successful business inboxdone.com would be the place to go to check out what we do with helping with email. But for me, and all my coaching and teaching and my podcast and my articles it’s just the Yaro.blog, or as I’ve said from the beginning my name is kind of unique on the internet, so if you Google Y-A-R-O, I should be on the first page of results, Yaro Blog, Yaro podcast. And yeah, access to my courses, but I’d rather people go through my free training first. Join a webinar, download a handout, or PDF and see if you like my style and my teaching, so yeah, yaro.blog.

J:

Fantastic. Yaro, thank you so much for joining us. This has been fantastic. For anybody that wants more info or wants links to the things that we’ve talked about here check out our show notes from this week. Thank you again so much we really appreciate you being here, and we wish you the best of luck.

Yaro:

Thanks, you too guys. Keep up the good work.

Carol:

Thank you so much.

J:

Thanks.

Yaro:

Thank you.

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