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SPI 552: My Personal Money Story

In Wednesday’s episode, we chatted with Marisa Pier about the money stories (and other stories!) we tell ourselves that then become our reality. It’s an incredibly relevant and important conversation about how our past and our conditioning can influence our future—and what we can do about it.

Marisa and I talked a lot about how we were brought up, the things that were said to us (and that we told ourselves) about money and success, and how they play a role in our success today.

Today, I wanted to talk a little about my own money story, because it’s definitely had a role in the difficulty I had with my transition from a nine-to-five to entrepreneurship.

As I was getting started as an entrepreneur, I held onto a lot of my money—and it definitely got me in trouble. In order to succeed with my business, I had to get over the idea of “I can’t afford it.”

My money mindset has shifted a lot since then. Instead of thinking, “I can’t afford this,” I’m focused on what’s important, the north star, the mission and values here at SPI Media. Because when you do that, the question becomes, “How could I afford not to?

My business journey obviously might look different from yours, but I hope this episode provides some food for thought. And if you haven’t listened to my conversation with Marisa, I recommend you do that immediately after this, because it might be one of the most important conversations you’ll hear this year.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.

Announcer: And now your host, when asked if he prefers hot weather or cold weather, his answer is no: Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Hey, it’s Pat here with another Friday follow up episode. In Wednesday’s episode 551, we chatted with Marisa Pier about the money stories that we tell ourselves or the stories about anything that we tell ourselves that then become our reality and a large amount of what we talked about is how we were brought up and the kinds of things that said to us and that we said to ourselves about money and success and how they play a role in our success today. And this is psychology and it’s very, very important to understand this. And I wanted to kind of take you back into my history a little bit today to follow up and talk a little bit about my own money story, because it’s definitely had a role in the difficulty I had with some of the things in and around the transition from nine to five, to entrepreneurship, from entrepreneur being scrappy to making decisions, to spend money and all this stuff. I very much held onto a lot of my money initially, which definitely got me in trouble.

Pat Flynn: And what I mean by that is once I found some success, I delayed additional success as a result of a lot of the money stories I was telling myself. But anyway, there’s more to the story, but let me take you back. You might have heard me share oftentimes this story of coming home from school with a 97% of my math test, and then having to work with my father on the 3% that I got wrong and all the focus was on that and how that just baked perfectionism into my mindset and being perfect at everything was the goal. And anything that wasn’t, wasn’t good enough. And this definitely affected my childhood as far as schooling and trying to get a perfect A plus in every single class, which I did, but to what expense? And I think it definitely had a lot to do with my low self-esteem in other parts of my life, such as with friends and with relationships and things like that.

Pat Flynn: Also, just self-confidence in general because I wasn’t likely to take on things if I didn’t know I could do very well with them and I wasn’t as… Or didn’t have as much access to things I could teach me how to do things perfectly. But of course now looking back, I know that wasn’t the right way to think. I appreciate the motivation to get things correct from my father and from my parents, but I definitely feel like, and this is definitely reflected in the way that I parent now, both myself and April, how we in our children, we always look at the good things that they did first and try to coach them in a way that they can understand how they can improve on their own versus being forced to do so. And that’s been really great and we’ve seen really good results with that.

Pat Flynn: And again, I’m grateful for where I ended up obviously, but looking back, I definitely know that my perfectionism has gotten in the way. And a lot of it again was a result… Like the fact that I can vividly remember that story and vividly remember where I was working in the kitchen to focus on those problems and vividly remember like tear coming down onto the paper. It just wasn’t good. It just wasn’t good. But in terms of money, here’s the story. And I shared a little bit of this in episode 551 with Marisa. It was a story of that. Just we couldn’t afford it. Right? And that specific language, we talked about a lot of language related things and how the specific language you used to you describe something or to say something or to react about something plays a role in your behavior in and around it.

Pat Flynn: So these phrases that were told to me by both my parents were we can’t afford that or money doesn’t grow on trees or this idea that there are more important things to spend money on. That was one that had remembered after this episode was completed with Marisa. And so what does this do? What does this kind of language do? It means that I save every single dollar that I have. It means that I take a, in combination with my perfectionism, a less risky approach to things. And so this is reflected in architecture. Architecture I chose because it was a admirable job that I thought was going to be very secure and one that I was going to stay with for the rest of my life that would provide for myself and for my family. And it was until 2008 when just the whole world got shook and especially the US.

Pat Flynn: And I got let go, as many of you know, and I had to find my way into entrepreneurship. And it just definitely was not easy, that’s for sure, but even in architecture, before becoming an entrepreneur and before the great recession of 2008, I had this idea that, okay, well, I’m going to invest my money and invest every single dollar. I’m not going to treat myself to anything I’m going to live under my means so that I could save and save and save and then have a nice retirement nest egg that I enjoy when I’m older. I’m working hard now with investments so I can reap the benefits later. But unfortunately I was in that mindset of, well, I don’t want to lose any of this because I might not be able to get it back. It’s this many hours to get this much money back if it were to fall or if it were to go down.

Pat Flynn: And so a lot of my investments in combination with conversations with a CPA who, when they ask you, it’s like how much risk are you willing to take? And I was like, I don’t want any risk at all. I didn’t quite understand that. Well, I had time on my side. Being in my 20s and starting to invest, in fact that’s when I actually had the most opportunity to take on the most risk because I have time on my hands versus somebody who might be saving up and going for retirement in their 50s. And they only have 10 to 15 years to save and to invest before then cashing out. There’s a lot less time. Obviously, losing out on that ability to have as much compound interest and exponential growth is one thing, but also just you’re able to ride any sort of ups and downs through time.

Pat Flynn: And in general, those investments will go up over time. But with less time, there’s more likely that you’ll kind of get out at the wrong spot. So anyway, all these ideas of, well, I just can’t afford it meant, well, I just took very little if any risk. So I was in these safe investments and I was following blogs, like get rich slowly and simple dollar. Things that were very, not just simple to understand, but again were going to guarantee returns in the long run, but definitely did not enable me to utilize the money that I had in the way that I could for optimal results. Now, I’m not saying that I should have taken all my money that was in my investment accounts, go to Vegas and put it all on black and just hope for the best. I mean, that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is that I wasn’t even open to those opportunities to see what else might offer higher returns simply because there was more risk involved.

Pat Flynn: When I heard there was more risk, I didn’t even want to hear it anymore and that’s not good because it closes my options. It closes my ability to learn about these other things. And we’re at a time now where there’s a lot of money being moved in many different and new places from blockchain and Bitcoin and decentralized, things like that, as well as NFTs and sort of digital, non-fungible tokens, which is a new world that we’re going to have some episodes about in the near future, I can tell you which I’m really excited about, but I’ve realized that as a business owner, I have to take risk. Outside of my own personal money accounts in the business, I’ve had to invest in order to grow to where I’m at today. And initially it was investing in team to help me save time. It was investing in systems. And of course, investing in learning.

Pat Flynn: And I think that’s the investing that I was okay. I was okay in spending money to learn, but spending money to grow a team, to do things that I could do myself was very difficult to get over. Spending money to hire people like Matt, who is now CEO of Smart Passive Income, right? And making those decisions on my behalf and taking this baby of mine and turning in into something that is a lot more organized, a lot more streamlined, a lot more able to help more people because he has skills and assets that I couldn’t bring to the table myself. That was very difficult. And over time, I mean, many of you know, that I used to publish my income reports on the website and they were the most popular pieces of content that I had ever published because people would want to see how Pat was doing and how much money I was making and also how much money I was spending or how much money I was losing.

Pat Flynn: And over time I ended up stopping them because the numbers just got way too big, too big in terms of earnings that would often have people go, oh, well, Pat’s just beyond my level now. He can’t teach me anything. And that’s not true, but those numbers were clouding that judgment. And the expenses were quite high too. And people would say, oh, well, Pat’s spending way too much. I don’t have that kind of money to spend. Therefore, I cannot make that kind of money myself. And that’s not true either. What I’m buying is time back. And in the beginning, obviously, you know that I put a lot of time in to enable for these things to happen. But what I’m getting at is this idea that I am now spending well over a million dollars a year on expenses that is team, that is systems, that is contractors, that is projects and other people and consultants to help us grow our business and get it to where it needs to go.

Pat Flynn: And if you had asked me back in the day, Pat, would you ever spend a million dollars a year on your business? I would’ve immediately said no. Without even thinking about, well, how much money could I make? All I was thinking about was how much money I would’ve spent, without realizing that a lot of this money that I’m spending in the business, if not all of it, we don’t always hit the mark. We invest in things sometimes that don’t work out. Sometimes we invest in people that even don’t work out sometimes. And that’s tough. That’s difficult. Again, we, I personally am a people pleaser and I want to make everybody happy. And if you’re trying to grow a business, it’s very difficult to grow a team and grow the optimal team. Especially at this high level, with this media company that’s being built here.

Pat Flynn: It’s very difficult to say yes to everybody and to just kind of keep everybody there if they’re good people, but maybe not doing what you need to do. And this is how high performers perform is they make those tough decisions or they hire people who and help make those tough decisions for them. But I’ve realized that this money that I’m spending in my business is coming back. We’re making millions a year as a result. And it’s something that wouldn’t have happened if these investments didn’t come into place. And I think it’s really important because a lot of people hear this. You might be hearing this yourself and go, well, that’s not a business that I want to run. And that’s okay. I made a conscious decision back in 2014 to play the role of starting to grow this company in a way that could scale and grow fast and to help more people.

Pat Flynn: That was the goal. And we have been. I mean, I looked at my Teachable student list recently and it was over the hundreds of thousands. It was over a hundred thousand people, six figures in students who have signed up and enrolled in courses. And wow, that couldn’t have happened without Mindy and without Matt and without SJ and David and Ray, and these people on the team who’ve been helping. And of course my executive assistant, Jess, who helps just keep me sane this whole time and helps keep my inbox looking okay.

Pat Flynn: So I had to get over this idea of we can’t afford it because the mindset that I have now with relation to a lot of the investments that I’ve been making both in my personal life, but especially in the business is even though something might be risky. And I’m not shooting darts, I’m calculating, and Matt is helping me with this. But instead of, well, I can’t afford this, knowing what’s important, knowing what the north star is, knowing what I am saying yes to and what I’m saying no to and what the mission and the values are here at SPI Media, how could I afford not to? How could I afford not to? So this is all just food for thought for you. And a gentle reminder that my business journey, my entrepreneurial endeavors are going to be different than yours.

Pat Flynn: And I think there needs to come a point, and this is to the conversation with Marisa. And if you haven’t listened to this, I would recommend you listen to it immediately after this, because it’s potentially one of the most important conversations that you’ll need to hear relevant to you and your future with relation to your past and what you’ve told yourself and how you’ve been conditioned to be a certain way.

Pat Flynn: And it’s not bad that you are where you’re at. No, what’s bad is just being okay with where you at if you’re not fully in understanding of where you want to go and how you might get there. Does that make sense? What’s not okay is just going, well, this is who I am and I’m just going to live with it. I think that you have to have a balance. In many ways, it’s okay to say that, especially with, hey, I’m going to be short and I’m just an introvert and I have to be okay with that. But more than just being okay with that, you can embrace that. You can embrace your weird. You can embrace those characteristics and traits, but knowing the things that you want and understanding that the way you grew up might not have set yourself up for success with what you want, then it’s being privy to, well, I need to start changing the language that I use.

Pat Flynn: I need to start changing who I hang around with, who can support me with this. I need to make progress toward wins toward that thing that I want. And it might take some getting over of some things that have happened in the past and just being conscious of that is the first step. So food for thought for you. Anyway, this has been a fun conversation. I don’t really talk about this stuff with anybody. So you are hearing this, only my close friends really get the true, full story here about these kinds of things, about mindset and who I was and the kinds of things I’ve struggled with in the past, especially in my childhood, and I want to unpack this more. You’ll hear me talk more about this. I am conditioned to be a certain way based on bullying. I was bullied when I was a kid, especially in high school and middle school in particular, just because of the way that I acted and who I was.

Pat Flynn: And that’s fired me up to help people. I’m definitely anti-bullying and this is something that is being brought down into the way that I and my wife raise our kids and the way that I talk about things, just even publicly here on SPI. We can get deep. We can get deep for sure.

Pat Flynn: But I just want to say, I wish you well. I thank you so much for listening to myself and knowing who you are and loving yourself is very, very important. So love yourself. That’s my call to action for you today. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I appreciate you. And if you haven’t listened to it yet, listen to episode 551. It should be the previous one here, right before this episode, which is 552.

Pat Flynn: So I look forward to serving you in the next episode. I cannot wait you to listen to 553 because it’s with somebody who I’ve just gotten to know. And I’ve just gone down the deep, deep rabbit hole of this content on YouTube. And it’s some of the most helpful marketing and sales content that you’ll ever come across. Who is it? Well, you’re going to have to see in episode 553 next week. Cheers, thanks so much. I appreciate you. And I hope your year’s off to an amazing start and we’ll chat soon. Bye everybody. Love you.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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