If you are an entrepreneur who feels overworked and overwhelmed, today’s episode is for you. My guest is the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of the new book, Buy Back Your Time, a game-changer for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business without sacrificing their freedom.
In our discussion, we go over the greatest mistakes entrepreneurs make when they think about hiring people, how working harder and more hours may stunt the growth of your business, and how to scale fast while avoiding burnout.
- How Dan went from being in prison to running the largest software CEO coaching program in the world.
- How to use the Buy Back Principle to assess which changes you need to make.
- Why your beliefs set the tone for your future successes (or failures).
- How to build your empire while still enjoying your best life ever.
- Top hiring practices for rapid growth.
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- Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire by Dan Martell
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host Hal Elrod. And today, we’re talking about how to buy back your time with Dan Martell. In other words, how to get unstuck, reclaim your freedom, and build your empire. Now, I want to be clear upfront on something that this episode is really for entrepreneurs and also those who want to be entrepreneurs. You’ll hear me talk to Dan about how I wish I would have read this book before I became an entrepreneur, or at least when I was starting. And I’m grateful that I am reading it now.
This is also interesting that I kind of turn today in a little bit of a coaching session. I told Dan toward the beginning of the interview, I said, “You know, it’s really interesting when you’re reading a book that’s changing your life.” And by the way, Dan’s new book, Buy Back Your Time, it’s phenomenal. And again, it’s for entrepreneurs. But as I’m listening or I’m reading this morning before I had the interview with Dan, I said, “Dan, I’m going to selfishly use this time to get coaching from you.” I said, “It’s a rare opportunity where you’re reading someone’s book, it’s changing your life,” and you’re like, “Oh, how cool would it be to talk to the author and ask him questions?” And I’m like, “Dude, I get to do that today.” So, pretty, pretty cool.
But we’re really going in-depth on the concepts in this book. And if you’re an entrepreneur and you feel overwhelmed, you feel swamped, you feel overcommitted, you want to buy back your time, you want to have more time to really do the things first and foremost in your business that you love, that you thrive at, that you’re really good at. So, you actually enjoy working every day. It doesn’t feel like work. You’ve heard that before, right? You figure out what you love to do and find a way to get paid for it. And you never work a day in your life. Well, that’s what Dan essentially teaches in this book. It’s phenomenal. I’m loving the book and I love Dan. Dan and I’ve known each other for about probably eight, nine, ten years, or so.
Dan, by the way, if you don’t know who Dan is, I’ll tell you a little bit about him. He is an entrepreneur, an angel investor, a thought leader, and highly sought-after coach in the SaaS or software as a service industry. He founded, scaled, and successfully exited three technology companies within a 10-year period. In 2012, he was named Canada’s top angel investor, having invested in more than 50 startups. And in 2016, Martell founded the SaaS Academy and grew it to be one of the largest coaching companies in the world. And he’s also an Ironman athlete, philanthropist, husband to his awesome wife, Renee, who I’ve also known as long as I’ve known him, and a father of two incredible boys.
Before we dive into today’s episode, I want to take just a couple of minutes to thank our sponsors, first and foremost, Organifi. In the afternoon, I have Organifi Red Juice, not every day, but almost every day. Their Red Juice is designed to recharge your mind and body with a delicious superfood berry blend of premium organic superfoods that contain potent adaptogens, antioxidants, and a clinical dose of cordyceps to increase your energy and boost nitric oxide levels with zero caffeine and only two grams of sugar. I take it in the afternoon because I find it gives me a really nice subtle boost of energy that feels really natural. But again, with no caffeine, it’s not jittery or anything like that. Head over to Organifi.com/Hal to check out their Red Juice. Give it a try as well as their other line of products. That is Organifi.com/Hal, and then use the discount code H-A-L, my name. As a listener to the podcast, you get 20% off everything at Organifi.
And then last but not least, CURED Nutrition, the sponsor that for me, they’ve changed my sleep. I did an episode last week or the week before on how to sleep better. My neighbor that I mentioned in that episode just came over literally today, about an hour and a half ago, and got a bag of sleep supplement that I bought for him, a little sleep kick, because I want to help him out. And I had CURED Nutrition Night Caps, which I take every night, and then CURED Nutrition Zen, which I can’t take because it has ashwagandha, but people rave about it. And so, I thought my other neighbor likes it. So, I gave it to my neighbor here today. So, anyway, if you want to sleep better, head over to CuredNutrition.com/Hal, that is Cured, C-U-R-E-D, CuredNutrition.com/Hal. Use that same discount code H-A-L to get 20% off your entire order.
Without further ado, I’m excited to share this episode with you. I’m really excited to share this book with people. I actually bought two copies, one to give to a friend of mine that I think would benefit as well. And then I actually was on a call today with my friend Jeremy Reisig and I held the book up, I said, “Jeremy, I highly recommend you get this book.” Like I don’t make any money if you do, there’s nothing in it for me, but it’s a game changer, Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire. And here you go. You can hear from the man himself, the author, by the way, The Wall Street Journal number two bestselling author last week, Mr. Dan Martell.
Hal Elrod: Dan Martell, it is so good to see you, brother.
Dan Martell: Hal, same, man. Honored to be here. Appreciate you. And I’m going to call the shot, man. I want this to be one of the best podcast interviews you’ve ever done. It’s a high bar, got incredible guests, but I’m going to give you 110%.
Hal Elrod: I’m in. I am totally in. It’s interesting, we have a very unique relationship and that we’ve probably spent less than an hour together in the last 10 years, but we have this natural love and affinity for each other. Would you say, am I making that up or is that true?
Dan Martell: No, no, no, 100%. Can you imagine, like ah, really Hal?
Hal Elrod: I don’t see our relationship that way at all, but yeah.
Dan Martell: No, and it’s cool. I mean, this is the power of social media as much as people want to sometimes pooh-pooh it, I think it’s a beautiful thing if done right, right? And I think, I’ve just always shared how grateful I am and the work you’ve done and how it’s impacting my life and just the way you do life in general. So, it’s cool that you feel that way.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, man. Well, you and Renee are just two beautiful people, and I think that just radiates. And so, like you said, even social media, you see it, you feel it, you feel the authenticity. And you can tell I feel like if somebody, if they’re playing a game of like, look how much better I am than you and look how cool my life is, even though it’s not, you can kind of feel. I feel like that authenticity across social media.
Dan Martell: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: So, first and foremost, I guess we already had a first and foremost, but the next thing I want to say is congratulations on your new book, Buy Back Your Time, hitting number two on Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
Dan Martell: Yeah, I appreciate it, man. As you know, number one, it’s got vehement in that spot with Atomic Habit. It’s a tough one to unseat, so I’ll take it.
Hal Elrod: I think he has a wealthy uncle and he’s just buying, like, I think, thousand copies of his book. I’m like, “How could you– I don’t know what are you doing.”
Dan Martell: Naturally selling 25,000, 30,000 a week is beautiful. And I know James. As soon as I got number two, I turned that on.
Hal Elrod: Totally. I saw you guys like you get to go back and forth, yeah.
Dan Martell: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was like, “Hey, dude, you better start promoting your book more. I’m coming for you,” as a joke. But yeah, it’s a freaking honor, man. It’s crazy. I’m like there is no expectation. There is zero. I decided to write a book to serve some people that I really cared about. And somehow, it’s resonating in the world. And it’s just, yeah, man, as you know, you write something, you work on something for years, and you hope people like it. And yeah, number two Wall Street Journal, it doesn’t make sense.
I grew up in a small town in Eastern Canada, and my brother called me in the morning. He goes, “Dude, I didn’t even think I would ever know somebody that wrote a book, let alone a bestseller.” And I’m like, “I know. Isn’t this crazy?” He’s like, “I don’t even get it.”
Hal Elrod: It’s weird how– it’s surreal because you’re like, especially this is your first book, right? Like your first book, and your first book goes big. Well, I’ll tell you, here’s the thing. Like, I’m holding your book in my hands right now. For anybody watching this on YouTube, listening to the podcast, the book is Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire.
And this morning, I’m reading it. I’m less than halfway through it. It is exactly what I need right now, exactly what I need. I just launched a team. I’ve always been a real solopreneur. It’s been like me and my assistant, and then everyone that’s worked with me or for me has been an independent contractor that I bring on to do it. Hey, I’ll hire you for a month, do this, or three months to do this, right? And going this year, I finally was like, I need to take the Miracle Morning to the next level. I need help. You know this, I need help. I can’t do it by myself anymore, right?
And so, I’ve got all these people that I’ve worked with for years. I’m like, “Hey, I want to bring you on full time. I want to bring you on full time.” Like, we need to build a team. I mean, I’m going to get a loan, invest some money, I’m all in. And so, this book is the perfect time.
And here’s what I want to do today. This morning it hit me as I’m reading, I’m like, wait a minute, how rare is it that you’re reading a book that’s changing your life and that you get to talk to the author of the book while you’re reading their book, right? Like, it doesn’t happen. You don’t go to the store and buy a book, and you’re like, oh my God, this famous author, I could just talk to him.
So, this morning, I’m like, I think I’m going to selfishly use this time to just ask Dan, basically get coaching from you. Like, I don’t know what would cost for a day of coaching or consulting. It’d be a small fortune, I know that. I’ll just selfishly ask you what I want to know and I think that’ll serve the audience in the end, so.
Dan Martell: And it’s fun for me, Hal, because like, look, the book’s there and I’m not trying to sell books, but if it resonates, go get it. But I’m more interested in the implementation side. So, we can get into the nuance and really kind of look at the whole picture and serve you. And I’m sure everybody else listening, especially your audience, would love to hear that perspective as well.
Hal Elrod: Let’s do this first before we get into my questions. You’re very open about the challenges that you faced in your upbringing. In fact, you opened the book with that. It really grabs attention, right? Police chase, pulling a gun out, I mean, it was wild. Can you dive into how you ended up in jail and kind of that story, going from there to being as successful as you have been?
Dan Martell: Yeah, I’ll share the short version because obviously, I want to spend more time coaching and serving you. But yeah, I grew up in an environment that was very much– probably the best way to think about it if you’ve ever watched Sons of Anarchy, motorcycle gang like, I just grew up, I got diagnosed with ADHD when I was 11. I had a serious anger issue. My mom was an alcoholic. My dad was in sales, traveling a lot, and just had a lot of time on my hands. And we grew up kind of outside of the main city.
And I got introduced to drugs when I was 13 and just kind of spiraled out of control and just quickly. It’s kind of funny, I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I just didn’t do anything legal for a really long time. And yeah, just learning things and seeing things that teenagers really shouldn’t be exposed to, just through the circle of people spending time with and ended up in trouble with the law and ended up in jail. The first time, I was 15, got out. I was going to change my life. I lasted less than 24 hours.
And about a year later, I got in some big trouble and I was on the run from the police and I had stolen a car and I had a handgun sitting next to me in a backpack because I told myself if the police stopped me, I was going to just pull the gun and let them do their job. And I took a routine exit off the highway to get some gas and there was a roadblock and I decided to gun it, just stepped on the gas and took off, and trying to get away and ended up in this neighborhood. I was quite a bit ahead. I mean, I’m drunk and high at this point from what I can remember, right?
But I saw an open garage door and I was thinking, hide out in that garage. Maybe I’ve watched too many car chase movies. But as I pulled in, I ended up smashing inside the houses, going way too fast and like, go bang, goes off, and just chaos, smashed my head against the steering wheel because I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. And when I came to, I went for the gun and I started pulling on it. And I can hear the police kind of pull up. As I was pulling on it, it got stuck between the side of the seat and the magazine just kept yanking and yanking. Before I knew it, the door opened up and the police just grabbed me in.
I woke up sober the next morning in a jail cell wondering what the heck my life was going to look like. And I ended up doing six months in adult prison due to the severity of my crimes. I had a guard in prison that I talk about in the book that spoke into me, beliefs that I didn’t have in myself. And I eventually got released to a rehab center called Portage, where I did about 11 months of therapy, like full-on understanding my feelings, my story, the meeting I had associated with a bunch of trauma, rebuilding relationship with my parents, the trust with my brothers and sisters.
I’m the second oldest of four, and it was at the end of this 11-month intense program that I was helping the maintenance guy clean out one of the cabins because it was built in an old church camp. And in one of the rooms, there’s this old computer and a yellow book on Java programming sitting next to it. So, I never touched a computer my whole life. And I just opened this book expecting kind of like weird codes and hex and decimal numbers and zeros and ones, and it actually went like English and then the whole Chapter 1.
And then 20 minutes, I got the computer to say, Hello, world. And I got it. Huh? Maybe I’m a genius. I literally thought that, Hal, like that’s how dumb I was. I was like, oh, I’ve never touched a computer, and I made this thing print out Hello, world. Like, maybe there’s something here. And right or wrong, it didn’t matter. It literally became my obsession. I mean, it really filled the hole, I think an addiction had left.
Hal Elrod: And this was at what age?
Dan Martell: I was 17. And this is 1997. So, I get out. And shortly, very quickly, I discovered this small thing called the Internet and couldn’t pick better timing. And since then, there’s been a ton of ups and downs, but I’ve been blessed and built five software companies, have exited three. I became a multi-millionaire at 28. I continued that trajectory, investing in 50-plus software companies. I now run the largest CEO coaching program for software CEOs in the world. We have over a thousand active clients.
I also have High Speed Ventures, which is my investment vehicle. And I talk about the things I’ve learned on that journey, specifically around how to build a business that you don’t grow to hate. And I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I caused a lot of what I call emotional shrapnel in my life. And today I’m just blessed to live a completely different life that I– for those that follow me on social media, ask me all the time how I do it, now, I have an answer.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, man. And it shows in the book in terms of what you– it’s kind of like Miracle Morning in terms of like I applied this, it changed my life. Let me tell you how it works, right? And the same thing, you applied it, you taught it to countless entrepreneurs. It changed their world.
I really related the Stewart story in the book. In 2020, I actually want to do something real similar to that Stewart where I have launched a team, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was overextended. I was on three years of chemo and I hit the pain line, as you call it, right? I was extraordinarily anxious and ended up being diagnosed with PTSD and had to do kind of similar to what you talked about. Like you– I didn’t have your coaching at the time. I should have called you if I would have even thought about it. I wasn’t thinking straight at the time, but I ended up just having to like– I did one of the, I forgot what you call them, but I basically had to let everybody go. I just fired everybody. I’m like, I’m a mess. I can’t function. And as I’m reading this, oh my God, I wish I had your advice because like what you told Stewart, what he implemented, I could have implemented, which just goes to show that if you implement what is in the book, it’s transformative.
I want to read this from the book, and then I want to kind of unpack it, because this to me is one way of talking about what the promise of the book. All right. So, you said the little-known secret to reaching the next stage of your business is spending your time on only the task that (a) you excel at, (b) you truly enjoy, and (c) add the highest value, usually in the form of revenue to your business. Likely two to three tasks fit that description. Every other task you’re handling is slowing your growth and sucking the life from you, and you should clear it from your calendar. And then here it is. Yes, someone else should be handling about 95% of your current work so you can get back to what matters. In your words, how would you explain what this book and the concepts that you teach are designed to do for an entrepreneur?
Dan Martell: It’s very simple. I actually believe and have proven through thousands of finds and coach that you can build an empire. Now, my words, an empire is a life of unlimited creation, you never have to retire. So, it’s not how big it is, how many employees you have. It’s literally the level of creation you want to create. There’s no constraint.
So, I believe that you can do that and also live an incredibly high quality of life if you’re willing to totally change your perspective on how you think of business and your relationship with money and your self-worth and your value. It’s mathematically proven, like you can’t build a million-dollar company at a $10 tax, right? And what happens is a lot of entrepreneurs start down this journey of being a business owner or solopreneur, and they just think, well, I’m supposed to do everything. I’m supposed to do the things that nobody else wants to do. I’m not fancy. I’m not worthy. I don’t want people to judge me if I have somebody support me. There’s just like all these. And that’s why I wrote the chapter on the Time Assassins because there was a lot of just bad behavior that is self-inflicted. And I try to do the best job I could in the whole book, just try to beat down these mindset beliefs that just aren’t serving anybody that’s trying to do it.
So, it’s kind of funny– well, it’s not funny. It’s unfortunate that a lot of founders hit the pain line and it is 100% avoidable, right? I mean, they have a business, they’ve got revenue. Many of them have contractors, teams, etc. They’re just not sequencing the process. And that’s when I try to do my best to simplify and unlock in the book so that people can literally build that business they don’t grow to hate.
Hal Elrod: Well, and I think there are two parts to it. I think that– first, it’s the mindset, it’s the paradigm. And that’s just in the opening pages, the first couple of chapters, that was shifting my paradigm. I’m like, “Oh, yes, this is how I need to think about my business.” But if you’re not aware of that, like I mentioned back in 2021, I went through something similar to Stewart, I wasn’t aware of that. Stewart had you to shift the way he thought about it, which shifted the approach he took, and then the methods that you teach in the book, he was able to apply those. Like some of the excuses, I’m reading this and I’m going excuses or entrepreneurs tell themselves, I don’t have time. They don’t have time to train somebody or manage somebody. Thank God I got over that when I hired an assistant eight years ago because even that, I was like, I don’t have a teacher, what to do? And I don’t have a trainer and I don’t even know what to teach her. And I don’t have the time for that. I can barely keep my head above water. Thank God, I took one step back to take that quantum leap forward.
Another excuse, I can’t afford the help. That’s always been an issue for me, right? And that’s probably what’s held me back. And this year, I’m finally like, I’m going to get a loan and I’m going to invest in what I believe is possible for my business. Period. Either you believe in what’s possible, or you’re stuck in the past going, “Well, we’ve never done it before. So, I don’t really know.” Part of being an entrepreneur is taking that risk. Another excuse, no one’s as good at the work as I am. God, it been a hard one to let go of.
Dan Martell: Yeah, well, in the book, I talk about it. The first belief you have to get to is 80% done by somebody else is 100% freaking awesome.
Hal Elrod: Say it again, say it again.
Dan Martell: 80% done by somebody else is 100% freaking awesome.
Hal Elrod: I like it.
Dan Martell: Like every hour that somebody supports me to do something that I would otherwise have to do, even if it’s 80% of what I could have done, I’m so grateful for that time back because it means I get to go work on something that lights me up that is creative, or spend time, I just got back from three days of heli-skiing, I’m really grateful for the people in my life that support me so that I can go spend time with other folks that I love. I mean, I’ve been doing this trip for nine years.
Hal Elrod: Was Brad Weimert with you on that trip? Same one?
Dan Martell: Yeah, Brad has been on it for five years. Yeah, there’s Chandler Bolt on it.
Hal Elrod: Oh, but Chandler’s on it. Have fun, man.
Dan Martell: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a pretty nutty trip. Yeah, so, like, again, I’m not saying buy back your time to go work 60, 70, 100 hours a week. I’m saying buy back your time to be smarter about how you reinvest and allocate that time so that it actually creates a life that’s incredible.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, and what you just talked about, 80% done by somebody else is 100% awesome, here’s what I found. It goes back to the old adage of fear, right? That the way to overcome fear is do the thing you’re afraid of, and then once you do it and you realize, oh, it’s not as bad as I feared, or the unknown that I thought could be worse than I don’t even know what it would be because what happens is whoever does the thing in place of you, as long as you give it to the person that’s capable, they do it pretty dang well and possibly better than you. Maybe different, right?
Dan Martell: Yeah, I used that quote just kind of like, it’s almost like the gateway drug of it, but they treat anything like, Sandy on my team who does my bookkeeping, she does it 300 times better than me. She loves to do it. And it’s an incredible relationship because she would never do what I do. She doesn’t even have a Facebook account, let alone would want to talk to a group of people on a Zoom session, right?
So, I think that’s what’s beautiful is that once you– and just start small. A lot of the clients I coach, even when we talk about this concept, the buyback principle into their personal life, they’re like having somebody clean their home. Some people, that’s a thing. They’re like, how do you have somebody clean your space and this and that? I was like, “Look, just try it once.” Like literally, it’s like, well, I can have somebody manage my emails as an assistant. It’s like, just ask somebody to do something before you run an errand, like just play with it a little bit. And I think to your point, Hal, the fear that they thought they would have is like, oh, that was a bit outsized compared to what actually happened.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah, the pro by far outweighs your perceived con, right? When you’re like, oh my God, it got done, and I didn’t have to do it. Mind-blowing. I mean you’re like, well, what else could I do? And actually, you tell me, is the first step for somebody, the buyback loop, is that it, the audit, starting there?
Dan Martell: Yeah. So, the buyback principle states we don’t hire people to grow our business. We hire people to buy back our time. And that’s the big idea. People are like, why is this book different than every other time management productivity, blah, blah, blah book out there? It’s that, right? And then how do we do that is the buyback.
Hal Elrod: Say it again for people just so they really get it cemented.
Dan Martell: We don’t hire people to grow our business. We hire people to buy back our time. The number one reason companies fail is not market, it’s not other things. Literally, the CEO deciding, I don’t want to do this anymore, this sucks, and it’s not what I signed up for. So, I’m going to go do something different. But guess what? They bring them with that. They’re the problem. Like, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you are still you, and you’ll do the same thing in this other business.
So, the buyback loop is a three-step process, and I do it probably every four months. When I get the pain line, when I feel like my calendar is starting to get full of things that don’t light me up, that is taking more than the hours I wanted to allocate for the different projects, that’s where I would go to the buyback loop. And it’s audit, transfer, and fill. I want that to be a mantra for people. Just audit, transfer, fill.
The audit is very important. It’s the time and energy on it. It’s not just time and productivity, it’s literally energy, right? So, what I do with my clients is I get them to do a two-week log every 15 minutes, writing down what they worked on, and then we come back and we highlight in green things that lit you up, things that you enjoy doing, and in red, things that took your energy or you didn’t enjoy doing. And then we put a dollar sign, $1 to $4 signs next to each task, and we say, if it was a low cost and it’s relative to the individuals buyback rate. So, it’s kind of like the cost of a restaurant, it’s variable. So, there’s no number. People are like, well, listen, $10, that’s $100. It’s like, it doesn’t matter, wherever you’re at, is this a low cost for you to pay somebody else to do it, or is it a high cost, like a $4 sign, which would be like hiring a C-level director to take over half of your business, like a COO?
And then what happens is you do that audit, you can literally grab all of the $1 sign tasks in red, put them in a bucket, and do not spend any money on labor. Other than that, no contractors, no employees until you go, all right, I’ve got a bucket of stuff that needs to be done by somebody else. What would that hire look like? Let me get that person in my work.
Then it’s transfer. How do I take that stuff and give it to them in a very clear and clean way so that you feel still in control and they feel empowered, which I teach in the book? And then fill, which is the big one is once you’ve got this newfound time, what do you do with it? (A) because this is probably the area that stops people from progressing is they buy back time, and then they literally just do more, like not interesting stuff, or they go on vacation or they watch Netflix or they scroll TikTok for six hours or they go and throw hand grenades in their business. That’s another one, right?
So, for me, fill is all about skills, beliefs, and character traits at a high level, right? And in the book, I break it down into tactical stuff, but we need to invest in skills so that we have knowledge to progress the business. So, a lot of people just don’t, like can I talk about the replacement ladder in the book, which is a sequence of hiring? If you don’t know how to do that thing, you have to learn the thing. Beauty is we live in a world where you can buy a book where somebody like yourself spent 20 years learning this information and you distill it into a book. And so, it doesn’t matter if it’s marketing or sales or operations or systems or Play Books, like go learn the skill but also invest in the beliefs because the beliefs is your blueprint on the world, your beliefs on how the world should look. And if you have, like we just talk about fear, I can’t afford it and how do I train them? And I’m scared. So, you have these beliefs that aren’t serving you and you will always– we got to grow through things and we need to become the person who can deal with more complexity.
I hate to tell this to people because I know that they wish that they could all live the four-hour workweek and everything would be fine. The truth is the only thing that changes if we actually want to create something meaningful in the world is you become better. The world doesn’t get easier now. Like, Hal, it sounds like you’re about to go into kind of a growth chapter in your personal, like in the business and stuff. It’s just going to require you to become more which is awesome. That’s what I love, like entrepreneurship became the personal development program I needed to stay sober and grow and build this life, right? Even the forcing function. Any time I hit a ceiling, I’m like, okay, what am I missing? Dan, you can do this. It’s going to take some effort. So, that’s why to me is you buy back your time to fill it with things that develop you, and then the character traits, when I think about it, it’s a lot like, so habits, right?
Big fan of your book, SAVERS, the whole methodology, I did it for a long time. And I keep tweaking it and playing with it for me and my lifestyle. And it’s funny because the other day somebody asked me about my habits and I had a hard time thinking about them because they’ve now just become who I am. So, habits become identity once they’ve been ingrained. So, character traits for me are skills and beliefs that now become just who you are. And at first, it feels like effort, but over time, you’re building this ladder of success. You got skills, beliefs, and then the rungs of the ladder are the character traits that eventually, it’s just, oh, that’s who Hal is or Dan is, right? They’re just somebody that leads this way or shows up this way or communicates this way, but that’s how I used to do it.
Like people, literally, I just got back from my trip, My buddy Mike and all of us were like, “Dude, you’re different.” And I was like, “Yeah, and that’s the point.” And next year, guess what? I hope you say, “Whoa, not bad.” They called it full spectrum, right? You’re just like I know you still got this, but you also got this. And I’m like, I appreciate that. That’s probably the ultimate compliment.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. No, I relate to that in terms of like right now of being out of my comfort zone. And if you’re listening to this and you feel like you’re playing small or you’re not going to that next level because it’s scary for anybody, no matter what level you get to, the next level is always scary, right? And for me, what I try to do is I try to take a step back and look at the whole situation. And you mentioned the growth component. I’m nervous. I’m a little scared to adopt this CEO role, even though that’s been technically my title on my tax form or whatever, but I’ve never actually embodied that. I’m nervous.
But then what I realize is I’m like, I’m 43 years old. I’m like, it would be tragic. It would be a huge missed opportunity if I lived the rest of my life as a solopreneur. And maybe I grow this team and build a bit and it allows for– I don’t know, I don’t know what the future holds, right? But I’m like, I actually would– and I sort of get excited. The fear started to excite me. I’m like, “Dude, I’m going to figure this out. I’m going to grow. I’m going to become a version of me that I don’t even know because I’ve never had to think about decisions that involved people’s livelihood and coordinating a team and scaling revenue to support payroll.”
And I’m reading new books, I’m having new conversations. It’s exciting. It went from being scary. And then once I shifted that paradigm, that perspective to like, dude, wait, this is a huge growth opportunity for me. Who am I going to be on the other side of this? Wow, that’s exciting. That’s more exciting than it is scary.
And I’m just sharing that, Dan, for anybody listening that’s in the fear phase, they’re like, oh, I don’t know, I don’t know about that next level, and anything. It could be totally just a personal in terms of your health, or it could be completely related to what we’re talking about, what your book is about right now, where someone is an entrepreneur or they want to be an entrepreneur, which, by the way, I wanted to mention that, as I was reading this, I go, man, I wish I would have read this before I became an entrepreneur so that I would like– and I probably would have read it and I would have underlined a bunch of it like I am now, but I would have not been ready fully, but it would have planted the seeds of like, oh, this is the way I want to build my business. And then I would have kept the book as a resource. And then, each year gone back and gone like, okay, how does it apply now? And a year later, how does it apply now? Like, that’s how good this is. I’m like, this is so relevant. It’s so helpful.
Dan Martell: I can’t wait until you read Chapter 13, the Achieve Bigger, Dream Bigger, because the 10x vision map will crystallize that feeling and give you both the structure. There’s a very unique structure because, again, the word empire scares people so much, right? But really replace it with massive impact, replace it with massive influence, massive service, contribution, like whatever word is going to…
Hal Elrod: Legacy, right?
Dan Martell: Yeah. Legacy, like some of the biggest compliments I’ve gotten are from folks that are incredibly successful that kind of set up base camp, kind of just said, I’m good.
Hal Elrod: That’s where I was, yeah.
Dan Martell: But they knew inside, they’re like, how can I be good if I know that I’ve got more to give and I’m not showing up that way? It feels kind of off. And I’m getting these messages from people, like, I was good because I was scared, because I assumed if I wanted to go to the next level, it was going to require sacrifice of my family, sacrificing my business, sacrifice– and it’s not that it doesn’t require you to. Yes, based on fear and go outside of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t require a lot of other stuff.
Like my buddy, Mike, messaged me Facebook. He left me this voice message. It was my favorite things. One of the top things so far from the book is I really care a lot about him, and he just said, like, “Hey, man, I was scared and you’ve shown me a different way. And now, I’m excited about people I know I’m going to be able to serve and not sacrifice the success habits, the fundamentals, the business fundamentals, or the commitments I’ve made to others.” I’m like, “Let’s go, bro.” Like, that’s what I’m about. I’m just about expression. I want people to express their art, their creativity, especially like you said, when you start it, it’s hard, yeah. Here is the hardest thing for me to do in this book. Write a book that’s relevant to an artist that has zero employees and just wants to do more art and to a $100 million, nine-figure CEO. And it was like I edited the book like crazy to make sure I can address both because it’s a principle that scales. And like you said, you just keep coming back. I do it every four months and I’m like, I’m trying to grow like…
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that resonates with me as an author because I’m updating the Miracle Morning right now. We’re doing a new updated edition and going through the whole thing. And even the original book when I wrote it, it’s like I’m thinking, how do I write this for someone that’s at rock or is at rock bottom, broke in debt, overweight, like I was when I came up with the Miracle Morning to turn my life around? But I’ve also heard tons of CEOs say that like this has changed them and now they’re better. So, how do I write it for the person at rock bottom and the person that’s succeeding at the highest level that wants that edge to go to the next level?
So, it’s such an interesting dichotomy between applying to both. But what I find is at the center of both of those examples is a human being, right? And that’s it. And when you’re speaking to a human being and no matter how successful you are, you have the same fears, or different, but you have doubts and fears and insecurities, all of it.
Dan Martell: Yeah, they’re just different levels, but it’s the same feeling.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. The philosopher Notorious B.I.G. said mo’ money, mo’ problems, right? It’s like you still got problems. They’re just bigger and they’re actually…
Dan Martell: They’re different. They got zero different amounts and zero variance.
Hal Elrod: That’s right. That’s right. So, in terms of the stuff that you teach and the methods that you teach, what do you use on a daily basis? So, I know, every four months, you’re using the buyback loop, right? But what are some of the methods that you teach in the book that you use in your own life and/or business on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis?
Dan Martell: Yeah, everything in the book, I still do today. So, the perfect week outline, I mean that’s core to the framework. The way I work with my executive assistant hasn’t– like the framework that I teach in the book is still time and tested true, amazing. Like I’m thinking about kind of what I share to hold their structure and the meeting rhythm, it’s the same. I’m like, is there something guided or tweaked? No. I mean, I can share nuances because, again, I had to introduce a new concept and relatively like 101-level stuff, but there’s 301, right? Like, for example, when I delegate, when I ask my assistant to schedule a meeting, we have priority one, two, three, and four. I don’t talk about that in the book, but you might appreciate it, Hal, because you have an assistant.
One means cancel a meeting, make this happen. Two is within the next week, find a spot. Three is within the next six weeks, no rush, whatever. And four, put it on a list, and if something happens and you can’t fill it, reach out to the person and say, “We’ve got 15 minutes if you want Dan now. If not, it might be next quarter.” So, just even like thinking about how to communicate in a more kind of systematic way with your team and stuff like that, but I use the Preloaded Year, which I teach in the book. I literally had it opened with my friends yesterday at the lodge, like, we’re trying to plan some trips. Yeah, I literally text vision map I look at every day. I mean, it’s really a blueprint to my life and it’s all these habits are now just part of who I am. And I think that’s why, even the house manager, Betty, like I have friends there at the house that were on this key trip with me and they’re just fascinated by it. My buddy Ryan just asked me, like, “Can I leave my snowboard here until next year?” And I go, “Talk to Betty.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t run that.
Dan Martell: I don’t have a problem with it, but Betty knows where all the storage is. So, if you’re going to leave it here, she needs to know because you’re going to kind of coordinate with her next year when you need it back. You’re not going to text me because I’m not the guy in charge of that stuff. And this is my own home. And it’s okay to have somebody support you on that level so I can be here with Hal or I can be spending time with my kids. And that’s just the way I do it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. How many kids do you have? And what ages?
Dan Martell: Two, nine and ten. Yeah, Irish twins, nine and ten years old. They’re 11 months apart, though. So, it was kind of nuts.
Hal Elrod: Wait, how does that– oh, got it. Okay, that’s Irish. I never heard the phrase Irish twins, but I just– two and two together and figured out what it meant. Right on, man. Well, hey, I’m going to keep pinging you with questions about the book as I’m reading it. As a friend, I’m going to ask you a few questions that might bring you back on. But anything else to share with anybody that hasn’t read the book, like a big takeaway? Anything? Any last parting piece of advice?
Dan Martell: Yeah. I mean, because I want people that are like– and it doesn’t matter if you have a team of 25 people or you’re– like, I’ll tell you a story of my wife because she gave me permission to share. Hal, Renee lives with me. She sees this. She experiences it. And when the book finally showed up in my house, the publisher sent us our first, whenever, I lost it for a bit because Renee decided to start reading it. I never asked her to read it. I didn’t expect her to read it. I don’t know. Like, I don’t expect anybody to read it. I don’t feel called to read it.
But I watched her for 10 days every night sit there and just process. And I was just sitting there quietly. I took photos. She would kill me if I posted them because it’s like nighttime right next to me, on the couch. But I took photos because a part of me was really excited that she was finally going to understand the thing that she saw and we could have even talked about. But she’s going to understand the method behind it.
And so, this was probably two months ago. She’s tripled their business. She hired an assistant. She hired another person to help her with her fulfillment. She hired somebody to help her with their marketing. She literally followed the replacement ladder. And by the way, she now has more time to compete in her CrossFit stuff she’s doing and have friends over and like I would have wrote the book for her.
Hal Elrod: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that must be so gratifying, man.
Dan Martell: It’s super rewarding. So, I share that because I know there’s people listening that are– and just like my wife, somebody that sees this firsthand, had fears around, well, what if I hire them and then I can’t keep them busy? That’s a real fear, right? Like, what if I hire somebody on the team, but I don’t even feel like I’m consistent enough? There are so many levels of the beliefs. Or I don’t trust them myself, right? Why do people not invest in coaching, in seminars? It’s like, well, I don’t trust me to do anything.
Hal Elrod: Follow through, yeah.
Dan Martell: That’s real. Which I actually think if you have an executive assistant, it’s a forcing function to show up and they’ll keep you. Like, the way I do it is my executive assistant owns my project. And when we got a call, she’s like, “Where are you at with this?”
Hal Elrod: I’m the same way, yeah.
Dan Martell: We’ll always do more for other people than we’ll do for ourselves. I mean, this has been proven with people with dogs versus humans and prescriptions and compliance and completion and stuff. So, I just really hope if the message resonates that you decide to do something. I honestly– you don’t have to read the book. You can just decide I’m going to– somebody messaged me this morning, they’re like, yesterday we hired a babysitter for four hours to watch our kids, so my husband and I could go get some work done. And it was a dramatic change in the quality of the work I did because I knew I was paying for those four hours and I wanted to get my money’s worth. And I was like, exactly that, doing that. keep going, build your empire, keep allowing yourself to play with this idea because it’s a mathematic, like I call it the first principle because if you are doing anything that you could have paid somebody your buyback rate or less, you’re actually working against your potential. There’s no other way to look at it once you understand it. And that paradigm shift, hopefully people will take that with them for the rest of their lives. That would be my parting message.
Hal Elrod: Awesome, man. Well, it’s like you said, impactful for me. The timing is perfect, man. So, thank you for finally writing the book that’s been inside you for all these years.
Dan Martell: It’s an honor to be on here, Hal. I appreciate the kind words.
Hal Elrod: Where is the best place for people to get a hold of you and/or get the book?
Dan Martell: Yeah. So, BuyBackYourTime.com is either where they want to go to before or after you get on all websites. I highly recommend you go to the bookstore. I want to send a message to all the retailers. So, if you are inclined to drive and go get it in person, which is actually the opposite of buying back your time, but sometimes, we do things because we enjoy it. I love going to bookstores. First, I like to smell the bookstore. Go and get your copy at the retailer near you, but it’s on all platforms. Audible. I read it myself with bonus chapters, but BuyBackYourTime.com actually has a free workbook. It’ll help you work through some of the calculations and the processes and whatnot.
And then I’m on all platforms at Dan Martell, two Ls in Martell, and my favorite one’s Instagram. Behind the scenes, I post a lot of my behind– like the stories of just how I do all this and I try to share this, things like that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that’s Dan Martell with two Ls, M-A-R-T-E-L-L. Awesome, brother. Well, it’s an honor to connect or grateful to connect with you again. And everybody listening, goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning Community. I love you. I appreciate you. The book is Buy Back Your Time. Check it out at BuyBackYourTime.com. And I think you will be grateful that you did.
And last question, Dan, could you have your assistant drive to the bookstore and pick up the book? Would that be…
Dan Martell: That is the way to do it. Yes. Go get an assistant, or if you have one, ask them to go get your copy.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. Awesome, brother. Bye, man. Love you. We’ll talk to you soon.
Dan Martell: Same. Cheers.