My guest today has started several successful businesses, written three books, is a motivational speaker and has consulted with companies in several different industries.
He coaches teams and businesses on the actions required in order to grow. As a result, he is known as the entertainer, educator and consultant of choice for America’s leading companies.
My guest is the founder of Thrive 15, an online education and practical training platform for entrepreneurs, which is taught by millionaires, mentors and every day success stories.
Now, lets hack…
In this 38-minute episode Clay Clark and I discuss:
- Why Clay feels you need to be ruthless with your time
- The benefits of studying successful entrepreneurs
- Learning other’s best practices and applying it to yourself
- How to clearly define your own success
- Creating your mission and values
The Show Notes
- Clay Clark Books
- Thrive 15
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Ultimate Sales Machine
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Clay on Twitter
- Jon on Twitter
- Show Sponsor: 99 Designs (Free $99 credit)
How to Let Your Business Thrive (by Getting out of Its Way)
Jonny Nastor: Launching a new business? 99designs is your number-one choice for quality design at an affordable price. Start your next design project at 99designs.com/Hack and get a $99 upgrade for free.
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big-name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here’s your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. I am your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me ‘Jonny.’
My guest today has started several successful businesses, has written three books, is a motivational speaker, and has consulted with companies in several different industries. He coaches teams and businesses on the actions required in order to grow. As a result, he’s known as the entertainer, educator, and consultant of choice for America’s leading companies.
My guest is the founder of Thrive15, an online education and practical training platform for entrepreneurs that is taught by millionaires, mentors, and everyday success stories. Now, let’s hack Clay Clark.
Before we get started, I want to thank today’s sponsor, 99designs. If you’re like many listeners, you’re in the early stages of getting your business off the ground. Your to-do list may seem like it’s a mile long, but there’s one task you should tackle sooner than later: your branding. Businesses can get maximum creativity with 99designs, the online marketplace where dozens of designers compete to deliver the best design.
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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. We have an excellent guest today. Clay, welcome to the show.
Clay Clark: I appreciate you for having me on there, my friend.
Jonny Nastor: It’s absolutely my pleasure. All right, let’s jump straight into this. Clay, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
Clay Clark: I would say that I am a ridiculously fastidious manager of time, and if I can go for one and a half things, I would say I’m a very, very detailed manager of time, and I spend a lot of that time studying successful entrepreneurs. It saves me a lot of time.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. “Ridiculously fastidious” in your management of time.
Clay Clark: Yes.
Jonny Nastor: Have you always been this way, or is this something you’ve had to work on?
The Benefits of Studying Successful Entrepreneurs
Clay Clark: It is something I have learned how to do. I have really reached out to the top performers. This is one of the things that blew my mind: it occurred to me that Oprah, or let’s say, Lee Cockerell, who used to manage 40,000 employees as the head of Disney World. You got a guy who manages Disney World, and you got Oprah, and then let’s go with a guy by the name of Michael Levine. He’s a big PR expert. He used to be the PR guy for Nike. I look at those three people, and I say, “Do these people have more time than I have?”
Because it would appear to me that they do, because I’m a 22-year-old guy looking at these super-successful people, and I’m saying, “I can’t even get to the dry cleaner and get to the bank and return calls. How are these people able to manage 40,000 employees? How are they able to do all these things and manage all these contacts?”
I begin to realize that time management is one of the things they do that nobody else really does. They are very, very focused on it. I begin to meet these people, study them, get to become friends with a lot of these success stories, and I asked them, “How do you manage your time?” One by one, I learned and basically took those principles and applied them to my life, and now I have very rigid time management rules that I do. It really, really has made the biggest impact in my life.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. You’re sure Oprah and Lee Cockerell don’t have an eighth day or ninth day in a week?
Clay Clark: I know it objects to the space-time continuum, but according to Doc Brown, they might be able to do that. I’m not exactly sure.
Jonny Nastor: Oprah could probably buy an eighth day if she wanted.
Clay Clark: That’s right. When you buy a house in Santa Barbara, they give you the eighth day as part of the deal, a special.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. You’re a 22-year-old entrepreneur at this point?
Clay Clark: I guess I was referring to when I was starting my entrepreneurial career.
Jonny Nastor: Okay.
Clay Clark: Yeah, I’m 34 now, but when I really got into this quest of success, so to speak, when I got serious about it, I was 20 years old. I was 20 years old. I was Entrepreneur of the Year for the city of Tulsa. They have a big chamber of commerce here, and I was ‘the guy,’ and people were like, “Man, you’re so great. You’re a DJ.” A DJ entertainment company, and we DJed clubs and weddings. So if you were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you knew who I was because I probably DJed at your bar mitzvah or you saw me at a club or saw me at a wedding.
I was ‘the guy,’ but yet secretly, behind the scenes, I felt over-stressed, over-worked. I felt like I was always behind. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was making a lot of money, but I wasn’t able to manage my life. I really began the quest to start studying time management. That’s really what I attribute a lot of the success I’ve been able to have over the years to.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. At 20 years old, you made Entrepreneur of the Year for a DJ company?
Clay Clark: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: Let’s go back before that, to when that started, because there seems to be a time in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize one of two things. They have this calling to make this big, big thing difference in the world, or as seems to mostly be the case, they simply find they can’t work for somebody else. Clay, could you tell me which of these two you fall into and when — before you were 20 — you discovered this about yourself?
Clay Clark: I don’t want to be the surly guest at all. I think your question was totally, totally rational. It makes a lot of sense. I would just say that I have option three, maybe?
Jonny Nastor: Okay. Nice.
Clay Clark: I just knew that I had a bigger vision for my life, and I knew that to do that, those goals, to do the things I felt like I was called or I had a vision to do, it would cost me roughly a $150,000 a year to do it. I wanted to make sure that I could earn $150,000 a year in a legal and ethical way that added value to many people. That’s where it started for me.
Jonny Nastor: How did you come up with $150,000 a year?
Why Clay Feels You Need to Be Ruthless with Your Time
Clay Clark: I used to do a ton of it, but I work with a lot of CEOs and managers where their business is stuck, and they hire me to come in and help them grow. I sit down with people — this is my process — but I say, “Hey, what are your goals for your life for the next year? Let’s say you’re only allowed one more year to live. What are the things you want to do over this next year?” Most people have an initial pushback: “That’s a stupid exercise.”
And I say, “Listen, my best friend got killed in a car accident. My father developed stage-four cancer out of the blue. We could all list the unexpected things that life throws at us. Let’s just have a sense of reverence for our life for a second, and let’s play the game that we only have a year left. Write down all the things we want to do during that year, and then next to them, I want you to put how much it costs.”
People say, “It doesn’t cost anything to spend time with my kids.” I say, “Actually, it does, because your mortgage is what your mortgage is, and if you’re going to take a day off, you still have to pay the mortgage or whatever your costs are. Let’s figure it out.” I just sat down, and I did this process, and I ended up discovering that it was about $150,000 a year for me to have five kids. I have five kids. My wife and I are kind of an organic, cage-free kind of people, the cage-free chickens.
I just knew that for me to have five kids, to be able to afford the lifestyle we wanted to live, to travel how we want to travel, to be able to hire the private teachers we want to hire for them and to be able to have our family over every Sunday for family days, to be able to hire personal trainers and to be able to have the NFL Direct Ticket package so that I can watch every single New England Patriots game possible, I’m going to have to have about $150,000 a year, and so that’s where I started.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. It’s so thorough, and you’re right. I mean, if I had one year left, what would I want to do? That’s a great take on how to deal with your business. Otherwise, your business, obviously, can end up running you.
Clay Clark: Yeah, right now, just the mindset that I have that I never really get too far from is that I am going to plan like I’m going to live forever. I’m going to have that mindset of, “I’m going to save money, and I’m going to be fastidious about time management,” but at the same time, I’m going to have the reverence for every day, viewing that it could be my last.
I really do not spend any time, any part of my day, involved to what I would call ‘the dark art of jackassery.’ I try to avoid jackassery. So if there’s a meeting about a meeting, like if someone in my office says, “Hey, can we have a meeting?” I immediately ask myself, “Is this the highest and best use of my time?” If it’s not, I refuse to go to the meeting. That’s just how I am.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. “The dark art of jackassery.” I think we have the title for the episode.
Clay Clark: It’s a black hole of time suck. It sucks like a Hoover. It will suck like a Dyson. It just pulls you in if you are not intentional. I really do believe this. I’m telling you. I’ve met the founder of Hobby Lobby. I’ve met George Foreman. I’ve interviewed these guys. I’ve had them on Thrive15.com. It’s been amazing. I mean, I know these people. All of them either have it on a physical piece of paper or they have it some place prominent: they have their goals written down, and if what they are doing right now doesn’t get them toward their goals, most of them will hop out of the meeting. They just won’t be there.
Jonny Nastor: Can we always do that? Do we have to be the CEO of a multimillion-dollar company to be able to have the power and control of our lives to do that? If we’re just starting out, do we not have to do everything that comes across our plate and everything — all the jackassery that is involved in starting a business?
Clay Clark: Yeah. Let me give you an example. If someone is listening to this right now, let’s say they work at a company. They work at a big company. Let’s say the company has 500 employees. Someone else who is listening to your program right now works at a company with 2,000 employees, and they somehow are an employee. Then you’re somebody else listening to this, and you are the owner of your own company, and it is a plumbing company. Okay? You’ve got three options: A, B, and C. A is the employee. B is the employee in the massive company. And C is the plumber guy.
In all three cases, you have to ask yourself, “Am I working in an organization that shares the values and shares the beliefs that I have?” As an example, I could not ever under any circumstance work for certain companies, because it would cause me dissonance, because their corporate ethics don’t agree with what I do.
I started out early in my career doing construction. Construction. I was digging holes, man, because I had no discernible skills. I was one of the only English-speaking guys on my crew, right? I poured concrete. I did that because I had no money, no skills, no degree, and no connections. I was working construction, but I knew where I was going. I was not engaged in jackassery. I knew where I was going.
So every week, I made $10 an hour, and I could work up to 80 hours a week on the crew if I wanted to, and I would typically earn about $1,100 a week, typically, after bonuses and stuff. I decided that I was going to save 20 percent of every dollar I make. I set 20 percent aside, and then I took 10 percent of it, and I tithed and gave to my church and certain things that I was into.
I lived as cheaply as possible. I had roommates and the whole thing. Even though I was doing a job that wasn’t personally fulfilling, I was getting closer to where I wanted to go so that at the end of a two-year window of time, I was able to fully engage in starting a business that I was excited about.
If you’re an employee right now, and you’re in a company, and you’re working there, and you’re going, “I don’t find this job to be too emotionally fulfilling, satisfactory as a career,” that’s okay. The question I would have is, “Are you engaged in jackassery? Are you living in an apartment that you can’t really afford? Do you own a house that’s too big? Are you getting sucked into someone else’s American dream? Because what’s your dream?” If on your sheet of paper you say, “My dream is to travel once a month,” then you might need to get a roommate and reduce your cost of living, or you might need to carpool.
There are endless things you might need to do. But we need to make sure that we’re not engaged in the process of just churning and burning and working a ton of hours and spending money on consumer debt or stupid things that we don’t need. Then we don’t have the money that we really need for the things we want. Does that make sense to you?
Jonny Nastor: That actually make so much sense. The fact that you worked construction and pouring concrete. I told you I just moved to this new office. We moved across the country two days ago, my family, for the summer.
Clay Clark: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: We moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where I lived six years ago, and I worked construction here. I just walked to Starbucks this morning before starting work from my condo now — that I can afford — and there’s construction everywhere, and all these people.
I could exactly picture myself six years ago doing that, and the only way I got out of it was to live super cheaply for two years to build a business that I could now do. Now, I don’t have to live cheaply anymore, but that’s crazy. People always wonder when they have this expensive job, but they never get ahead, and I’ve actually heard the idea that the higher-paying job you have, the harder it is actually to get out of. Because as you get paid more, you typically increase your expenses even more.
Clay Clark: That’s right. Here’s a thing right now. Somebody asked in a speaking event — I think I’m doing a speaking event in Vancouver. Pretty sure I am in the next couple of months. I’m pretty sure.
Jonny Nastor: Nice.
How to Clearly Define Your Own Success
Clay Clark: I had a speaking event. The guy comes over to me and he says, “Hey, really impressed with your talk. My wife and I are having a hard time getting ahead.” The talk was on search engine optimization. He says, “I love the principles. I want to apply it.” He’s the head of the company. He says, “My wife and I, we’re just struggling to get ahead. What’s your tip?” I said, “Buddy, my goal is I want to buy 20 Silkie chickens.” They are like diva chickens. They snuggle with you like a dog or something.
They are the opposite of a cat chicken. I mean they are very dog, want to hang out with you, snuggle with you. I said, “I want to buy 20 chickens, and I want to plant 50 fruit trees, and I’m in the process of buying a foreclosure on nine acres.” He’s like, “What does this have to do with my question?” I said, “Everything. You know what it’s going to cost me per month to maintain that livestock if I close on this particular house?” The guy was like, “No.” I said, “Nothing.”
That’s what’s crazy, is my actual costs based on the fruit and the eggs that my family would produce, versus what we spend on groceries currently with a family of five, and based on the price I was going to buy it for, and based on all the variables. There are two properties on it that I can rent out to people. I have no costs. I’m like a net-neutral guy. I said, “So even though my wife and I have earned a great income, and we’ve been blessed beyond what I deserve, we are constantly trying to drive down our costs.”
Why? Because I want to reduce my carbon footprint? No, even though it’s probably a good thing. It’s because I just don’t want to have overhead. I want to wake up every day — this is where it comes full circle. I want to wake up every day and be able to have enough of what I would call — I want to be careful, because there’s probably someone listening to this who shares my religious faith — but I call it ‘go to hell’ money.
Somebody listening to this might say, “But I thought you were a Christian. You can’t call it ‘go to hell’ money.” Okay, it’s ‘screw-off’ money, or whatever you want to call it.
But the point is, when I am working with a consulting client or I’m doing a speaking event, if someone were to schedule me, and they are just being … I call them an ‘askhole.’ But they are practicing the dark art of jackassery by asking me all the time to do things, wasting my time. I simply pick up the phone, and I say, “Hey, such-and-such, I really appreciate you, but I don’t ever want to work with you or talk to you again.”
“Moving forward — let’s wrap up what we’re working on — but moving forward, I never want to talk to you, work with you again.” Just delete.
You know what I mean? I’m not stuck in a job I don’t like. I’m not stuck with employees that drive me crazy. I have a team of people. We all get along, and I’m very into that Tony Hsieh, Zappos, pursuit-of-happiness mindset. I could honestly say that I love every moment of every day and everything I do with every person.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. It’s because you took control, and you take control every day of your time and getting rid of the dark art of jackassery.
Clay Clark: Boom.
Jonny Nastor: I love it.
Clay Clark: Got to get rid of it.
Jonny Nastor: All right. We talked about you and your ridiculous time management skills. Every blog post now, every expert, talks about the 80/20 rule, right? They say do what you’re good at, and delegate the rest. Do the 20 percent to provide 80 percent of the value. Clay, can you tell us something that you are not good at in your business?
Clay Clark: Yeah, I’ll give you an example. I don’t really give a crap about my birthday or anyone else’s birthday. I just I don’t care. Maybe I have a problem. I probably have a psychological disorder, but I just don’t care. I furthermore don’t really care about how I feel sometimes. I just care about what needs to be done.
As an example, this morning, I set my alarm — and I’m not making this up — I woke up this morning at about 3 a.m. Not because I wanted to, but because I had a great, great meeting with a wonderful, wonderful longtime friend who’s one of my life heroes who’s flying into town today. Then I had a wonderful podcast here scheduled with yourself.
I have all these great things on my schedule, and there wasn’t enough time. What I had to do is I had to set my alarm early. I had to set that alarm early, and I had to choose today, “Okay, I’m going to get up today at 3.” I knew that going into it. I’m going to get up today at 3, and between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., I am going to have to do all these certain tasks.
Back to your question, I really, really don’t like acknowledging employees’ birthdays. I really don’t like figuring out why is someone’s printer doesn’t work. I would rather shoot myself than talk to the credit card company and negotiate fees. I have people that I brought on who like that.
We have one lady — we call her Mom Thrive, Mom Thrive15, that’s our company — but Hanna. Based on that, Hanna has been touching base with you. She loves people’s birthdays. She’s probably more excited that you’re having a birthday than you are, and she loves making sure everybody has all the natural, organic, healthy drinks in the fridge. She loves making sure that people feel acknowledged. She loves organizing the team talent show. She loves fixing the printer so that you can print like you’re having a holiday of printing. Just, print, print, print, print. She loves that.
I had to find her, who loves that, to do things that I don’t want to do. Now, I don’t want to ever hire someone who doesn’t want to do tasks and then make them do them, because then they’re in purgatory, and I’m in purgatory, because I’m forcing them to do it. I try to hire people that fill needs I have. I try to hire people that fill the needs I have. I don’t try to hire people and then force them to adjust to my needs. Does that makes sense?
Jonny Nastor: It does makes sense. It does makes sense. Is that different now from when you were in a DJ business, and you didn’t have the infrastructure around you? In any of your businesses you owned, what was the first person you hired, and why did you do that?
Clay Clark: The first business I had – remember, I was working construction — we go from construction. Time warp — now we’re over here into the DJ business. I needed a dude. I needed a dude to type confirmations. If I met with a bride and groom and they paid me a deposit for a $600 or $700 wedding package, I would email them a confirmation. I got to a point where I could book — it sounds crazy to believe — but I could book 11 to 12 weddings a day by myself, face-to-face appointments. Eleven to 12 a day.
The paperwork, bro — I would be typing confirmations till [10:00] at night, and I realized, “I’ve got to identify my biggest limiting factor, because all these successful people are saying I need to do that.” You identify your biggest limiting factor, and you blow it up, and this never stops your whole career. I needed a dude, and my wife and I were talking.
I’m like, “Honey, I need a dude.” “What kind of dude?” I’m like, “I just want a dude.” “Why not a girl?” “Because, you know, we’re married, and the guy needs to work in our house, and I just need a dude.” I found a dude who was really into legalizing pot. That wasn’t why I hired him but that’s the deal, right?
Jonny Nastor: Side benefit.
Clay Clark: I hired the guy and he was like, “So, bro, so you’re like, you won’t ask a lot of questions, right, bro?” I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. You do whatever you want to do in your van” — he had a huge van — “You do whatever you want in your van. You go to your normal protests and you do your whole ‘make pot legal’ thing you’re doing, and all I ask you to do is type these confirmations, and don’t freak out. Just remain calm. Remain calm, and invoice on. Send those confirmations.” He would come in every day — I’m not kidding, he wore sandals — I had made him wear a suit, because we were a wedding service.
He literally would wear a suit with sandals. And he’s like, “Hey bro, bro. I mean, I got all the confirmations typed. Is it cool if I go out to my van?” I’m like, “Yeah, sure, dude. Sure.” That’s the relationship we had for about the first year.
Now, over time, I started realizing, I need a guy who does more than just type confirmations. I need a guy who can maybe do some sales presentations. Then I went to a place called Golf USA — I went to every place I could think of that still has a good retail sales team. I go into Golf USA, and I found their top sales guy there, and I hired him. Boom. And I went to the Starbucks, and I hired that dude. Boom.
I just basically went to all the retailers who’d already trained these people, and I basically said, “Hey, I would like to pay you 50 cents or a dollar more an hour than what you currently make. Do you want to come join the dark side?” One by one, I got people on the team, but I just looked for really good people at really good businesses.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. I love it. I love it. We’re going to move on to projects, if we can.
Clay Clark: Sure.
Jonny Nastor: ‘Projects’ is a loose term that can mean anything you guys are going to take on at Thrive15 at this point. Is there a process that you guys go through at this point, or that you go through personally, even, of deciding a project or some direction that you want to take or something that you want to move into or something you want to start?
Creating Your Mission and Values
Clay Clark: Now, this is a podcast, so I’m going to give you a visual and hope everybody in the audience can mentally marinate on this idea.
If you have this triangle, and you can imagine the triangle at the bottom of the triangle. At the very base of that triangle, you have this idea, this concept called your mission. For Thrive, our mission is to mentor millions with powerful and practical training from millionaires and everyday success stories. That’s what we do, okay? Provide powerful training, mentorship to millions. Everything that doesn’t align with that mission, we don’t do it.
The very rock, the foundation, is the mission. If somebody says, “Hey Clay, can you do …” — I get this talk all the time. People call me all the time, and I get sort of Shark Tanked, and they’ll come to me and say, “Could you come do a speaking event? It’s for this multi-level group, and if you’ll speak here, we’ll pay you a certain speaking fee and then you’ll get a certain percentage of anything that someone buys.” I’m going, “Well, I don’t really believe in your product, though.” They’re like, “No, but we’ll pay you.” Because it doesn’t align itself with my mission, it would cause me dissonance or a feeling of guilt psychologically.
If you’ve say your values are over here, but you do something else, it creates that feeling of guilt, otherwise known as dissonance. The mission is the filter that I look at everything through. Then after you add the mission, you add your values. Your mission is basically why you get up every morning, and then your values are the next level in the triangle. Because it’s a pyramid, as you work your way up the pyramid, it’s your values. Values are how you do things. At Thrive, I’m really into how do we do it. It has to be practical.
It’s like a how-to video on search engine optimization, a how-to on accounting, a how-to on how to raise capital, how to do sales. I don’t ever want to interview somebody on Thrive who won’t teach the audience how to do something. Otherwise, if someone logs on to Thrive15.com and makes an account and they’re just getting a bunch of philosophy, that’s cool, but that’s what Charlie Rose is for, or that’s what TED Talks is for. How?
Then we move up the chain. It gets even more narrow, and we start moving into – once you get to the mission and the values — now we get into our processes and policies. And if somebody can’t work on our schedule, and they can’t follow our policies and our processes, then they’re not a good fit. The final little thing at the top is this wonderful thing called ‘self-actualization’ that my main man Maslow wrote about, and the idea is that I end up feeling good, and our customers feel good, because we offer them a great experience. Today, I got a two-page email from a Thriver — as we call them — who has told me he literally, in the last 12 months, has been able to increase his income.
He’s increased his income by about 30 percent and decreased his expenses by a little less than 10 percent. That, to me, is the highlight. That’s the end result. That’s how I do it. Anybody listening, I would encourage you to write down your mission for your life. What is your mission? Then write down your values. Then be thinking about your processes and policies. Then think about your self-actualization, what you really want to get to.
When I worked construction, it was the craziest thing in the world. I’ll be honest with you, I hated every minute of it. But I knew that I was not going to be there long-term. It was just a way to get where I wanted to go.
Where you start to really struggle is when you working someplace, and you don’t share the mission, and you decide that you’re just stuck. Even if you work in some place you don’t like, be the best employee you can possibly be, and maybe someone will notice you and you’ll get promoted out of the problem. Or maybe you’ll get hired by somebody else. Don’t be the worst. You don’t want to get fired at the bottom. You want to over-deliver and work your way up to the top of the company or to get promoted or hired from someone else.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. I love it. Almost 100 interviews in, and that is by far the best answer to that question I’ve got. I typically get, “It’s a gut feeling. I don’t really know how I do it.”
Clay Clark: Right now, if I look at my client roster, I’m working with a pharmacy. I’m working with an orthodontist. I’m working with a cosmetic dentist. I am working with a public speaker. I’m working with a guy who’s really involved in the whole ‘law of attraction’ movement. I’m working with a guy who’s a fitness trainer. I’m working with a guy who trains pro athletes. I’m working with a lady who sells cookies, gourmet cookies. I’m working with a wedding cake business. I’m working with a bridal dress store.
I go on and on. I work with these people. I’m working with a contractor. I’m working with a roofer. All of these companies, we’ve been able to help them either double or grow their profit by at least double within an 18-month period of time. It’s not because I’m a genius, but it’s because I literally take every client through the same process, and it just works.
I’ve been doing this for a decade, and I’ve really refined the process in a scalable way that I think anybody with a semi-functional mind … like myself. I took algebra three times. Anybody with a semi-functional mind can do this. You don’t have to be a genius.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, even just drawing it out in that triangle, which I did as you were describing it, just to visualize it — it’s amazing.
Learning Other’s Best Practices and Applying It to Yourself
Clay Clark: Yeah, here’s a thing I’ll tell you. If anybody is listening to this, I do want to recommend a book that I didn’t write. It’s a very altruistic recommendation. But I recommend that you read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Because it will help you find your mission. It’ll help you do that.
Then as you find your mission, that next thing is your values, and I highly recommend you read the book Scale by Hoffman. It’s the guy who started Priceline.com. I recommend you read that. It’ll help you get your whole values there.
The next thing is processes and policies. I would highly recommend you read The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.
Then the final one is that whole thing self-actualization we were talking about, and I would highly recommend you read — I mean, just don’t take this recommendation lightly, because you might go, “That book doesn’t make any sense” — but I would highly recommend that you begin to read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Because as you read that book, you’ll start to realize why you like people and why you don’t, and you’ll learn some things about yourself. I think it will help you have the true self-actualization that we all look for.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. Great recommendations, absolutely. Alright, we’re going to end off on something I’m calling ‘the entrepreneurial gap.’ You’ve come from construction, Clay, and now you are working with amazing people, from contractors to pharmaceutical to orthodontists to also mentoring millions with Thrive15.
Clay Clark: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: There’s this thing that I’m calling the entrepreneurial gap, which is, as entrepreneurs, we are always looking forward, always pushing for more. We set five goals three months, six months, a year, five years out.
Clay Clark: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: Before we even get to those goals, we set five or 10 loftier ones into the future, and we’re pushing and pushing. “In six months when I get there, everything will be better. In a year, when I get there, everything will be better.” We fail to stop, turn around, and look at what it is we’ve accomplished and where it is we’ve come from and what we’ve done to this time.
I would love, Clay, if you could, right now, stop, turn around, look at what you’ve accomplished, where you’ve come from, and where you are today, and tell me how you feel about that.
Clay Clark: Receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year award from a small business administration was obviously flattering or kind of a proud achievement. Been able to share the stage, speak in events where Joe Montana is there, or people tell you, “Hey, you know, you’re better than John Maxwell.” Those are fun things to hear. You love the emails where someone says they’ve seen Zig Ziglar and they liked your talk just as much or better.
That makes you feel good, but the thing I would say is that because I’m a time management junkie, I literally — every Monday, every single Monday — I block off a four-hour window of time, and I will stop, and I look at my schedule, and I do exactly what you just said.
I look at it, and I go, “Okay, am I happy with where I’m at? What areas of my life am I not happy with?” I literally block off four hours. I sit there for four hours of power, and I work through, and I only schedule time for things that matter. I can tell you if I look back at my life, I’m very proud that every Friday, for the last five years, I take my wife and kids out for dinner.
Every Saturday, I do a date with my wife. Every Sunday, I do family time with my mom and dad, and I don’t have a life of regret because I’ve schedule those things that matter. That’s the biggest call to action that I can say for anybody listening: you’ve got to schedule time for what matters. If you want to work out, book a time. Book it. Schedule it. Block it off. If you want to take your wife on a date or take your husband on a date, block it off.
For me, I want to hit on my wife. I want to take her to Home Depot. I want to take her to Lowe’s. I want to get arrested for making out in the parking lot, and I’ve got to schedule a time for that. Because we have five kids, and if we get to go to Lowe’s, that’s a hot date, right? I’ve got to block off time for that stuff, and I’m just saying that I know it seems crazy, but when you have five kids and you have nine different businesses like I have, life gets busy like you just said. It gets very, very busy.
If we’ll just schedule time for what matters, and we say, “Hey, every Friday, I don’t care what I’m doing, I’m going to turn down business. I’m going to say no to that client because I know on Friday night, my kids are expecting me to take them out for pizza.” Then we live a life without regret, and that’s the biggest thing. Because being an entrepreneur doesn’t give you a hall pass to neglect your faith, your family, and your finances. You’ve got to schedule time for your faith, family, finances, and fitness. You’ve got to do it. Boom.
Jonny Nastor: Nice, nice. I love it. All right, Clay, it’s been a lot of fun, and we got to talk a lot about you and your business in passing. Can you specifically tell the listener where they can find out more about you and your business?
Clay Clark: Yeah, the thing is, if you have a business, and you want to grow it. If you’re just like, “I just can’t make my business grow.” You’ve paid all this. You’ve gone to the seminars. You’ve bought all the books. You just can’t make it grow. If you want to start a business, and you just don’t know where to start, and you feel overwhelmed, and you’re just like, “Holy crap, where is an owner’s manual for how to start a business?” If you work in a job and you’re like, “I’m stuck, and this job is sucking my soul.” I highly recommend you go on to Thrive15.com. You go up there, and when you get up there, go ahead and just log on. You get a 30-day free trial.
You just log on there, you can sign up for the free trial, and when you do that, it’s just unbelievable. In 30 days, you’ll actually learn what you don’t know, and all the teachers we have, they’re millionaires. They are mentors. So you can learn PR, sales, marketing, accounting. Anything you’ve ever want to know. How to optimize a website, how to build a website, it’s all up there, and it’s done in an entertaining format, so you’ll laugh, and you’ll learn. I don’t mean this lightly: it will be a life-changing, transformative experience, and worst-case scenario, we charge you 49 bucks.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent, excellent. Thrive15.com. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes so that it’s easy to find. Clay is also on Twitter, and I’m also going to link to Think and Grow Rich, Scale, The Ultimate Sales Machine, and How to Win Friends and Influence People, because those are great recommendations, Clay.
Again, Clay, thank you so much for taking the time to join me today, it’s been a lot of fun, and please keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s inspiring and awesome to watch.
Clay Clark: Have blessed day, my friend. Thank you for all you do for your listeners. I pick up on the passion, and I think it’s awesome you’re sacrificing your time to bless people. That means the world to me. Thank you for doing it.
Jonny Nastor: My pleasure. Thank you.
That was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. There’s something about talking to a really smart entrepreneur who is also a coach to other entrepreneurs. Because there’s a certain skill of explaining things and having sort of exercises you can go through to sort out what it is you are going through in life and in your business.
And Clay has an excellent … I don’t want to say innate ability, because it’s something he’s worked at. It’s something any of us could work at, but he’s really worked at it, and it’s grown and blossomed into something very, very valuable.
That made for a very, very interesting conversation, but then I go back. I go through the conversation, and there’s this thing that Clay said, and it stuck out. It stuck out to me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It’s probably the same for you, right? Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Clay Clark: We can all list the unexpected things that life throws at us. Let’s just have a sense of reverence for our life for a second, and let’s play the game that we only have a year left. Write down all the things we want to do during that year, and then next to them, I want you to put how much it costs. People say, “Well, it doesn’t cost anything to spend time with my kids,” and I say, “You know, actually it does, because your mortgage is what your mortgage is, and if you’re going to take a day off, you still have to pay the mortgage or whatever your costs are.”
Jonny Nastor: That’s the hack. Yes, yes, yes, Clay. We do need to have that sense of revere for life and what it does for us, because as we all know, Clay had two horrible examples, but they’re not that out of the blue. They’re not that crazy. Unfortunately, we all go through that stuff. We all have loved ones that get into car accidents or get sick, or things happen. Things happen quick. It’s life. It’s how it goes. And we do have to know this. This is an excellent exercise that I want you to do. I want you to decide what it is that you want to do in the next year, and then figure out what it’s going to cost you. This is an awesome, awesome exercise.
I’ve had people go through this exercise where, for the next year, tell me where you want to be in six months, and tell me where you want to be in a year in your business and personally. Ignore everything. Ignore work. Ignore anything else, but just tell me, if everything could be perfect, and you work as hard as you could work, where would you want to be? These are good exercises to do. Clay does a really awesome one there, and this goes to my whole entrepreneurial gap thing, right?
We have to focus on where we are. We really do have to just work within today sometimes. We have to push, yes. We have to push forward, of course, and we have to look back, but we also have to be today. These are great exercises. Please do this, because Clay is a smart, smart man, and this exercise really, really works. I want to thank you for that, Clay, and everyone else can go find you @theclayclark on Twitter and also thank you after they do this exercise.
All right, it’s been a lot of fun, as always. I love that you’re out there. I love that we get to spend this time together.
If you’d like to reach out to me Jon@HacktheEntrepreneur, I would love to hear from you. If you’re on an iPhone and you have a chance, or if you’re on your computer right now and you have a chance, go to iTunes, and leave me a rating and a review for the show. It would help so much.
If you’re on any one of the other devices out there, Stitcher.com is the best place. You can look up ‘Hack the Entrepreneur’ or ‘Jon Nastor,’ and you will find the show. A rating and review helps so much, gets me more amazing guests like Clay. I will truly, truly, truly appreciate it. Thank you. Have a great day, and as always, please keep hacking the entrepreneur.