What you will learn from our discussion with Jeff Steinmann:
- Avoid Some New Entrepreneur Mistakes
- Side Hustling to Your New Biz?
- Don’t Think You Can Have Your Own Biz?
- How to Quit Working for Others
- “Just because you don’t know right now, doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out” – Jeff Steinmann
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More about our featured guest Jeff Steinmann
Jeff spent 13 years getting a bachelor's degree and 15 years working in corporate. When he realized all that sucked, he quit working and wrote a book called, “How to Quit Working.” Jeff is a freedom fanatic.
[00:00] Joel: Joining us on the show is freedom fanatic and author of a great book. You need to get your hands on this book, it's called “How To Quit Working”. And Jeff Steinmann is on today's show. You know Jeff, this is the first time that we've ever had you on ReLaunch. Welcome to the show.
[00:19] Jeff Steinmann: Awe, thanks so much for having me guys. I am so happy to be here.
[00:22] Joel: We have been looking forward to the show and gonna pack in tons of value, looking forward to it. You know Jeff, this show is highly practical because it is all about the relaunch…
[00:36] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[00:36] Joel: Yeah, and how you did it. And it's also a little bit about becoming known in your niche, again, how you did it. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most transformational for them and then we just unfold the story from there.
[01:00] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[01:00] Joel: And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes if that's okay. But I'd like to start the show off with a quick piece of take away gold. And in your book, you start out in chapter one talking about lifestyle design. Now, a lot of folks, especially people that listen to this show, have heard that term before and they're familiar with lifestyle design. But what would you say, in your experience, is the biggest misunderstanding people have when it comes to designing their life and what can they do about it?
[01:34] Jeff Steinmann: By far, Joel, the biggest misunderstanding is designing their life based on what somebody else tells them that they wanted. And that's not only like the traditional “Get a job, get married, have kids, have a white picket fence” and all that kinda stuff, it extends into… Any time somebody tries to intentionally design their life I think there's a lot of folks that are going for that location, independence or living on a beach laptop lifestyle and they don't necessarily want that. And… And I think the biggest thing that folks have to do is just get really in touch with what is it that you wanna do and quit letting other people tell you what you want even if that's working well for them, it might not be good for you.
[02:21] Joel: In your book you talk about cementing your foundation and erecting a new structure and we're gonna talk about that a little bit later on in today's show. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on that. Also, you told me in the pre-show chat that your business, your coaching business just hit the six figure mark. So, hey, congratulations…
[02:43] Jeff Steinmann: Thank you very much.
[02:44] Joel: Jeff, I am thrilled that that happened to you. And so, if we get into Jeff's relaunch. You know, there's personal ones that we have, there's professional ones that we have or that we've had and there's also emotional, spiritual ones that we've experienced as well. Which one do we need to talk about for you?
[03:05] Jeff Steinmann: I think for me we need to talk about my financial relaunch in terms of how… How did I change how I think about money.
[03:17] Joel: Okay.
[03:32] Joel: Okay.
[03:33] Jeff Steinmann: I was raised in a household and a family where scarcity of money was a common thought, right? “Money doesn't grow on trees, we can't afford that, you can't have this, you can't have that”. And I remember my parents telling me when there was this stereo system I wanted in high school. It was like $600. And that doesn't sound like a lot now, but when you're in high school and you're working from lawn mowing money…[chuckle]
[04:00] Jeff Steinmann: That was… That's a pretty big deal.
[04:01] Joel: Right. Sure.
[04:02] Jeff Steinmann: And I remember being told… And I wasn't asking anybody to buy it for me. I was just announcing that I was gonna save all my money and buy it. And I remember them telling me, “You know, you're kinda dreaming there bud. You're not gonna be able to pull that money together”. And that's one of my earliest recollections of this idea of being told that I couldn't have something and I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit.[chuckle]
[04:30] Pei: ‘Cause you wanted it that much, huh?
[04:31] Jeff Steinmann: Absolutely, absolutely. And as I went through my corporate career and I had… You don't wanna hear my whole long, boring story. But I had, like many people, a successful corporate career. I was managing large technology projects and programs. And as I progressed through that, what I kept hearing time and time again was, “You can't have that”. It was, well… As I get to thinking, it's like I went on this great vacation to St. Barths in the Caribbean. If you've never been there you have to go… B-A-R-T-H-S.
[05:08] Joel: Been there, love it.
[05:09] Jeff Steinmann: Oh my God, it's amazing and it's really hard to get to which is the best part of it. And… It got me to think, “I could spend three months a year or more here or some other tropical location”. And… But the answer that came back was, “Well no, Jeff, you work, you work a job, you can't, you can't have that”. And it was… It was that along with so many other things that really made me step back and reframe how I look at life and how I look at the importance of money in life because I said, “I'm just not gonna do this being told I can't crap anymore”. So…
[05:50] Dr. Pei: You know, Jeff, that's very interesting. Back when you were talking about the teenage years when you wanted something and you were told you can't 'cause that's repetitively told to you.
[06:03] Joel: And then he heard it in Corporate America, too.
[06:05] Dr. Pei: Yeah, but what's interesting is, after a while, we start telling ourselves that lie as well.
[06:11] Jeff Steinmann: Yes.
[06:12] Dr. Pei: And as much as we don't like it, we accept it. So, as you transition, going through this relaunch, when did you decide or when did you actually start to have that awareness of that voice keep telling you?
[06:30] Joel: How long did you believe your own lie? That's what I'm curious about. And then, I guess, Pei's… Pei's question makes perfect sense.
[06:39] Jeff Steinmann: I think… I mean, I believed that from high school all the way through the moment. And this is a great segue sort of into Pei's question. It was… So, it was upwards of 15-20 years, well, I guess if you go back to high school, yeah. 20 or more years. And… But what I remember is, really slowly, this wasn't a big, big flip, but really slowly, I realized that, “You know what? Entrepreneurship and having my own business is gonna be the way out of this trap.” Like for a lot of different reasons and we could talk for hours about this, but there was a lot of different things that were coming into my head. It was like, “Okay, if you want this, you're probably gonna have to go start a business. Oh, if you want that, you're gonna have to go start a business.” And one of the things that played into that was this idea of being able to never be told “No” again, right? And I think what happened was, as everybody knows, when they're quiting a job and start a business or any kind of a relaunch, there is that fear, there is that, “How in the heck am I gonna do this?” Right?
[07:49] Joel: Sure. Oh, yeah.
[07:50] Jeff Steinmann: How am I gonna do… How am I gonna make this work? And the biggest shift for me was, one night, this was a couple years before I left my corporate job. I was laying in bed and I was reading a book. I don't have any idea what book it was. I don't think if this has anything to do with the book itself. But I had a realization and I said, “You know what? Just because you don't know right now, how you're gonna make this work, doesn't mean you can't figure it out.”
[08:23] Joel: That is a big realization.
[08:24] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah, yeah, so my mindset shifted from, “I don't know how to do this,” to, “I'm going to figure out how to do this.”
[08:33] Joel: Okay, so… And you talk about that in your book. So, can you weave in there a little bit on how… ‘Cause we wanna be as practical as we can.
[08:43] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[08:44] Joel: Yeah, for sure. So, how… How do you help people figure that out? And you also talk about improvement, is that what you know, but it's what you can improve… I love how you frame that up, too. So, can you bring those together a little bit?
[09:02] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah, and the biggest thing for folks, when they are looking to quit a job and start a business is, they've got this… This conundrum of, “Okay, I know that probably the first thing that I do the first time is not gonna make me as much money as I make in my job.” But how do I free up enough time to work on that thing without quiting my job, right?
[09:26] Dr. Pei: I had to say hassling.
[09:28] Jeff Steinmann: It's to… Yeah, yeah. And one of the things that I think that we do in how to quit working when nobody else does is we focus completely on making that transition. We focus on that for people who are in that situation. And the thing that… The thing that I always tell folks is so absolutely critical is, really two things. It's like, when you're working to build a business on the side, you have got to be so extremely efficient and you've gotta be focused on the right things. You can't be running off building fancy websites or building up social media presences. You've got to be out there pounding the pavement, saying, “Look, this is what I've got. Do you want to buy it?” And then people say, “No… ”[chuckle]
[10:11] Dr. Pei: I like that.
[10:12] Jeff Steinmann: People say, “No, you're crazy. I don't even know what you're talking about. You got three heads, go away.” And then you say, “Okay, I gotta think of something different.”[chuckle]
[10:21] Jeff Steinmann: Or, “I gotta change this a little bit,” or “Why is this so goofy to you? Tell me, so I can change it and make it better.” You gotta be out there proving out that product or service and that product or service comes from, what is the value that you provide to the world? What is the transformation that you provide? What is the improvement that you provide? We have a whole worksheet in our system called the improvement view because it's all about how do you improve someone's life because whether it's a coffee cup that doesn't tip over in the car. Remember those big coffee cups from the '80s with a big flare on the bottom? Or, whether it's coaching or whether it's… Graphic design, if you're providing a product or service, you're improving someone's life in some way.
[11:01] Joel: I love how you frame that. Thank you so much. You're improving someone's life and another way that I like to talk about it is, you're solving a problem.
[11:11] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[11:12] Joel: You're solving… A Lot of times… And I work with a lot of podcasters, helping them learn how to launch their podcasts to number one and to grow their audience. And sometimes, podcasters, with the best of intentions, they'll say… They'll say a phrase like, “Well, when people are searching for podcasts… ” and you're a podcaster like me, and if you look at iTunes, there's a lot of podcasts there, and so I remind podcasters, “You know what? People aren't scrolling through the endless iTunes library looking for, “Well, how can I fill this gap of time?”
[11:48] Jeff Steinmann: That is such a good point.
[11:49] Joel: But what they're looking for are solutions to a problem.
[11:53] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[11:53] Joel: So, when I help, and I know you give this same advice to your clients and audiences is, when you're thinking about creating a podcast or a product or a service, think about what problem am I the solution to?
[12:11] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. And there is a lot of competition in the podcasts space, but this is… And I believe this is… This is a metaphor for a larger point.
[12:19] Joel: Okay.
[12:20] Jeff Steinmann: Most podcasts, suck.
[12:25] Dr. Pei: You mean the quality or the…
[12:27] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah, the quality, the intent. They're… Really, when you look at all of the competition that's out there, there's the top level of really good ones. I would put Relaunch in that category. I would put my show in that category. [chuckle]
[12:40] Jeff Steinmann: And then there's a whole lot of junk out there. And it's not that those are bad people creating those, it's that those are people that aren't focusing like you're recommending Joel. And I think that's the great thing about podcasting is that really when you raise that level of quality and you raise the level of consistency then, wow, you really propel yourself to the top. And that's really a metaphor for all of business, right? When you look at all of the things that are out there, you've got products that… Products and services and all… You've got all kinds… Like if you look at coaching for example, you've got a lot of folks out there that are in coaching for the wrong reasons. That's the biggest issue with the industry right now and when you look at that, you've just got to leap frog above them and you give yourself this huge competitive advantage.
[13:26] Dr. Pei: I love that. And one thing when you mentioned the quality of podcasts, that is so important… I'm really hoping more and more podcasters raise their quality and consistency because podcasts itself is still new to most people and if they stumble upon five podcasts and they're like, “Oh! This is how it sounds like?” It might turn them off to listen to any podcasts.
[13:57] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. Well, and this is just such an exciting time to be a part of podcasting because nobody knows, everybody's blogging about, but nobody really knows where this industry is gonna go. And where traditional media, terrestrial radio and it comes into newspapers and TVs, everything is just up in the air and it's up to us to reinvent it, so this is just so exciting.
[14:19] Joel: It's like the wild west again and we're talking podcasting, but even if you're not a podcaster or if you have no desire to be a podcaster, it's really the frontier, is new media and that could include your blog, that can include your YouTube series, include your podcast, we've already covered that and so many other new media avenues that are coming out. I want to come back and I wanna really get more into practical stuff. I wanna talk about niching. You have a great section in your book about “The niche view” is what you like to call it. And I wanna also weave in how you were able to use those niching concepts to help you take your business, your personal business to a six-figure level. We're gonna talk about that next, but first we wanna have a quick word from our sponsor.
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[16:22] Joel: Alright Jeff, back to the conversation. I wanna hear about what you learned or you relearned about your possibilities, potential and things of that nature, but I also wanna respect your time. So, is there a way that you could weave together what you've learned with some of those other things that we talked about niching and raising the bar in your own business.
[16:46] Jeff Steinmann: Yes, and this is the most important lesson that I've learned about business and what I love about business lessons is they're all just metaphors for life. [chuckle] It's business is just this tiny little sliver of life. If you can really get your head around and really get comfortable with how little you actually know, you'll be really successful and here's what I mean by that. The human mind is… And I've spent a lot of time studying and I've… I'm a human behavior geek.[chuckle]
[17:23] Jeff Steinmann: And it is such fun stuff. And I think the reason I love it is because it is so darn complicated. But it's a very complicated thing and it's very hard to know what people are gonna do, how they're gonna react to a certain message, what they're gonna buy and what they're not gonna buy. And I think that… We hear folks say like, make big blanket statements like, “You need to do this, you're gonna need to do that,” or, “Here's a great sales technique,” or this or that. The reality of it is, that nobody really knows what's going through a buyer's mind when they're making a buying decision and for that reason if you can…
[18:00] Jeff Steinmann: If you can embrace the fact that you will never know what's going on in their mind. You will never really know what somebody wants. It changes the way you do everything and it changes it to be about trying things and looking at the reaction and then learning from their reaction, rather than coming at it from the standpoint of, “Oh, my gosh, I think everybody wants this new kind of coffee cup that has a GPS built into it.” It sounds great, you'll never lose your coffee cup. And… And it sounds ridiculous, but again that might be the next billion dollar idea. And if anybody wants to go out there and produce it, I just ask that you send me a royalty check.
[18:38] Joel: I'm working on it right now…[laughter]
[18:40] Joel: Now that you just opened your mouth.
[18:42] Dr. Pei: Well, Joel's the action-taker, so there you go.[laughter]
[18:45] Jeff Steinmann: But I think the biggest lesson that I have learned and the thing that will make you so incredibly successful is if you can just get rid of any notion that you know anything about people and how they're gonna act and react and just realize that you just don't know. And I can back that up with some data… [chuckle] From the infomercial industry and I think this is a fascinating industry to study and that is an industry that is pretty high-stakes, right? So, when you see an infomercial, they've spent no less than a $100,000 producing that infomercial. They have spent probably several hundred thousands of dollars producing the product that they're gonna sell you when you hopefully call. And that, we haven't even talked about what they're paying for the airtime to bring the infomercial to you. That industry has a five to 10% success rate. So, for every infomercial that is successful enough for you to see on your television late at night, nine other of them went completely into the trash can.
[19:49] Joel: I didn't realize… Sorry to interrupt, I didn't realize the success level was so low. So, it sounds like the advice that you're giving us or that you gave yourself really is to be open to other people's… How they would select and choose because really you didn't know, so it was to give yourself the freedom and flexibility to know that you didn't know.
[20:18] Jeff Steinmann: Absolutely. And when you accept the fact that you don't know, then you're willing to go out there and say, “Hey, you guys wanna buy this? No? It's a stupid idea? Oh, okay. Well then, how should I change it to make it not so stupid?”[chuckle]
[20:30] Jeff Steinmann: Right? Or “How can I modify it or do I need to paint a different color? Do I need to change the price? Do I need to just throw it all that way?”
[20:36] Joel: I love that. Asking for feedback. Pei, did you have your hand up?
[20:39] Dr. Pei: Yeah, I love that. When earlier you mentioned just to accept that you don't know what people are saying, one of the things when Joel… When Joel coaches people about… ‘Cause some of our clients may ask, “Well, do you think people will want that?” But one of the things Joel likes to say is “Don't make the decision for them.”
[21:05] Joel: Right.
[21:05] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah.
[21:06] Dr. Pei: Yeah. Or recruit some people to be on your launch team for your book or for your podcasts… You feel like, “Well, should I send this e-mail?” But yeah, yeah, you got my drift.
[21:22] Jeff Steinmann: Definitely. Definitely.
[21:24] Joel: Okay, so Jeff we've got about maybe four minutes left or so. But if we can jump in to how important niching is. I tell people to niche until it hurts and you say something very similar to that in your book. So, let's talk about how important that is and how it's also okay if you don't know down to the hair color today…[chuckle]
[21:47] Joel: Who your ideal client or avatar is. And let's talk about how the niching or the niche view helped you get to that six-figure mark where you are today.
[21:59] Jeff Steinmann: Yeah, I think you have to realize that niching is how you gain a foothold. I think of it like climbing a mountain, right? I mean, you've gotta find that one little spot where you can get your foot and get it firmly planted, nice little nob that's sticking out or a little ledge or something, so that you can then pull yourself up. And that's really what a niche does for you. Just because you found that niche in that rock and you found that little foothold that is comfortable and you've got a really good grip on it there doesn't mean you're gonna stay there forever, but you need that in order to pull yourself up to the next level.
[22:38] Joel: What a incredible analogy. It's great.
[22:39] Dr. Pei: I love it.
[22:40] Jeff Steinmann: Thank you. And I think one of the things that folks fear in niching is they fear that they're gonna be stuck there forever. And that's why I like to explain it as it's just a foothold, it's just for now, it's just a place to pull yourself up. Now what we've done in “How to Quit Working” is we are in a very crowded space and you guys know this because you're in the same space. A lot of folks out there who are talking about helping you start a business, helping you become an entrepreneur and it is really important to be different and to be unique in this industry. And I think the thing that we have done from a niching standpoint is that we have really said, “You know what? Our marketing efforts are gotta be completely laser focused on folks who are working a full-time job and wanna transition from that job into having their own business.” And that's something that when you look at all of the other business coaching programs or the other podcasts or whatever it may be, they don't have that specific focus. There's… There tends to be a larger… A larger focus of, “Here's how you do webinars, here's how you make money with this, here's how you do that.” A lot of different, kinda more scatter shot topics where we are laser-focused in on how do you make that transition. I think the thing we've got to be…
[24:00] Jeff Steinmann: And that is a very key factor in our success and how we've grown this coaching practice to be as huge as it is today. And I think that it's hard for folks to be confident enough to niche down, but that has made us stand apart from all the other competition that's out there.
[24:20] Joel: That's how you rise above the noise because there's no shortage of content available these days. You just scroll through your Twitter feed, scroll through your Facebook feed. You'll find a ton of content, but to rise above the noise and to be seen, heard and recognized, you've absolutely got to do it. Final words from Pei, I think.
[24:41] Dr. Pei: Yes, and I absolutely love how the layout of your book 'cause you have small segments, so it's easier for people to grab a piece of advice and then later on move on to the next. And obviously, when we talk about become known in the niche, writing a book is an awesome way. Plus, Jeff, I love how you title your book “How to Quit Working.”
[25:12] Jeff Steinmann: Thank you very much.
[25:13] Dr. Pei: So, I'm sure… I'm sure you were playing with ideas like “Let's see, what title should I go with?” right?
[25:21] Jeff Steinmann: I was so stumped, Pei, and then I was sitting on… I had to have it to my editor by, I think it was the 1st… Yeah, it was the 1st of January of 2013 and it was late that… Between Christmas and New Year's. In 2012, I spent a lot of time getting it finally ready and I was just sitting there on the sofa and I was like, “I need to pick a title for this thing.”[chuckle]
[25:44] Jeff Steinmann: And it just hit me, “How to Quit Working.”
[25:48] Joel: And there you go.
[25:48] Jeff Steinmann: It just hit me. And the domain, believe it or not, was available. I got it for 10 bucks on GoDaddy. [chuckle] Which a lot of people don't believe, but there are still some good ones out there.
[25:57] Joel: Well, you've obviously… Everyone listening has figured out the title to Jeff's book. Get this book. If you're in a place where you're either… You've either made the decision to quit working or that is something that is a part of your possibilities and it might be on your horizon at some point in time, definitely make yourself available or make that book available to you. I think I said that right. Jeff Steinmann is our guest today. Jeff, you're welcome back here on Relaunch anytime. Really appreciate your wisdom and your insight and thanks for sharing with us today. God bless you. Have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day.
[26:41] Jeff Steinmann: Absolute pleasure, guys. Thank you so much. I can't wait to come back.
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