TMBA 274: When You’ve Built Yourself a Job Instead of a Business

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With the help of our friend Taylor Pearson from, we are continuing our 5 part series. The first episode was about making that first $1,000 of income. This episode is all about the next phase of a business, where you are starting to make a living, but you’re trying to figure out how to scale that and turn it into a real asset. We’ll talk about how we got out of our jobs and built a business, how long we were living broke for and the fundamental difference between building yourself a job and a business.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why you should be building in as much margin as you possibly can in the beginning.
  • How to structure your business to focus on the pipeline.
  • Why you should be more like Dilbert.
  • When and how we decided to hire our first employee.
  • What it means to “Optimize for Interesting” and why you should be doing it.
  • The benefits of living broke.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 12.11.14
  • Loved this insight into the first few years of your business, the struggles to grow and balance reinvestment vs. salary and lifestyle.

    Key takeaway – know what actually grows your business.

    Not what you HOPE will grow it. Not what other people say SHOULD grow it, or what they used to grow their businesses.

    For some people/businesses, it’s creating new products, like Ian said. That’s been my primary growth engine, too (so far).

    For others, it’s JV promotions and webinars getting a single product in front of more audiences.

    Others can make the paid traffic profit-generating machine spit out as much money as they want based on X investment.

    For some it’s SEO, for some it’s viral content, for some it’s hiring an increasing number of people, etc. etc.

    There are a zillion possible ways to grow, but some (many?) are going to flop for you, so you gotta know what actually moves the needle and organize your time/systems/reinvestment to maximize that. At least until you hit that point where “What got you here, won’t get you there” – and a strategy change is needed for the next level.

  • Great p-cast bros.

    @Taylor Pearson great q’s bro, you really helped direct the p-cast in a educational way—kinda wished you had more freedom to explore those qs.

    @Dan want to hear the story that hasn’t been told (i.e. your consulting gigs while building the biz). RESONATES.

    @Ian loved the point where you suggested that someone has to stay back and do the non-sexy (down-to-earth) stuff.

    “Aim for COG at 25%” > best take away of entire p-cast, price right early or the rest of your journey will be a challenge.

  • Yo Derek I assure you Taylor was in no way creatively restrained!!! :) Good point RE: consulting, I think I’ve mentioned it here and there but it’s worth pulling together a fresh take on it.

    Thanks for your run down, don’t think we’ve talked much about the 25% thing but seems to be a solid rule to me.

  • that’s a good point actually, more subtle than ‘pipeline.’ It’s a lot easier to wig on fulfillment and customer satisfaction and forget that nobody is going to be satisfied if something isn’t pushing the whole thing forward– sales, new products, relationships, etc. The ‘what got you there’ thing is interesting to because we are prime examples of things changing, hopefully we can express that in part 3 of this ‘series!’

  • The part about about learning how to shift and go way down in RPMs really stuck with me because I’ve made the exact mistake. Got to think about the business in the long term…

    P.S. I’m sure you have a lot of episode ideas but another one about Valet Up would be awesome.

  • Thanks appreciate that Chris, got a request into the Dominator to join us for a Valet Up update, might realistically be a few months given some major changes there. I dig that RPM thing too, kinda feels like that, to me it kinda represents that leverage doesn’t always mean it’s easier. In fact, it’s harder, but you have a ton more upside.

  • Thanks, questions were mainly the ones I wanted answers to! Freedom to explore was limited only by my imagination and the timeline, I would have loved to have dug in for a couple of hours but that probably would have been a bit much…

  • Next time ! :)

  • You’re confusing and conflating a “consultant” and a location independent entrepreneur of some kind (probably one of those coconut cash guys, base-lining in Asia while doing miscellaneous internet marketing tasks).

    Kinda silly mistake to make, no? :)

    “True” consulting is not doing the actual labor, or blending a business revenue/expense with your personal income/expenses.

    A consultancy that’s setup and run like a business (as it should be) is perfectly viable and a great business model.

    Look for Alan Weiss for a 1 man operation (not really, his backend is a pretty little business with all the SOPs to satisfy the most rabid business person).

    Look for Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey for large consulting firms.

    Both are pulling in revenues in the low million to very high million range per year.

    Both are businesses and don’t fit your idea of “consulting”.

  • Luis

    Hello Dan, I was wondering, if you could possibly help me start like you did and reach independence and no 9-5 job. I am young and very motivated. I know that is not all it takes as that is a requirement instead of a plus and would like to hear your advice. If you have a chance please email me at

  • yeah absolutely good observation, in this ep i’m defo conflating ‘consultant’ with proto/pre-product entrepreneur , or consulting as a means for entrepreneurial cash flow rather than building a consultancy, anecdotally, most people I’ve met who do either are looking for ways to stop billing hours/projects, even those at very high ends law / tech.

  • Luis

    Thank you, I will look at them first thing in the morning. Its never to early to start. In this world its great that age does not make a difference except in some parts of the world

  • Thanks for some great advice at the perfect time. We just hired our first employee and just a week in we’re already seeing the incredible benefits. Our next big hurdle is learning how to scale effectively and avoid the hamster wheel. We’re still feeling a little lost in that regard, but slowly making things happen. I appreciate the insights!

  • cheers that’s great to hear! here’s an episode on scaling:

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