Most people never take the leap to pursue the life they've always wanted. Often, it's because they're too afraid to quit their traditional jobs.
But what's the worst-case scenario if you swing for the fences and go all-in on yourself? Eventually, the money might run out, and you'd have to return to work. So, for many, the worst-case scenario is just their present-day reality.
That's why I've invited Brian Luebben of The Action Academy Podcast on the show to share a blueprint for achieving your version of success. Today, we hear Brian's story and learn about the side hustle that helped him replace his six-figure corporate income while traveling the world full-time.
After recording, I had to go back and listen to this conversation again because I didn't want to miss any of the golden nuggets Brian shared. Make sure you take notes on this one!
Brian and I discuss building a financial foundation, creating products that address real needs, the importance of community for learning, the best short-form content strategy, and more!
This is a great one, so listen in and enjoy!
I made it to the top of a Fortune 500 Sales Organization (#8 out of 5079 Reps) and then realized I hated conference calls and all things corporate. This led to me building a portfolio of single-family rentals in Atlanta, GA, and starting my podcast, The Action Academy Podcast — the daily entrepreneurship podcast that helps people replace corporate with cash flow. The show exploded and eventually became my media company, Sexton Media Group. My real estate and side business ended up replacing my six-figure income, and I left my job in March of 2022. Immediately afterward, I traveled around the world full-time for eight months. I now travel the world full-time while building my media company to 10M ARR and beyond.
I've been to 31 countries (and counting) and have now settled in Austin, TX as “home.”
My full-time job is helping others do what I did!
- Getting what you want to make sure you actually want it
- How Brian's side hustle replaced his six-figure corporate income
- Creating a three-year plan to build a dream life
- Why all you need to get started is value and an email address
- Giving information away for free and selling accountability
- The essential role of community in online education
- Structuring short-form videos for maximum engagement
- Subscribe to Unstuck — my weekly newsletter on what's working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox
- Connect with Pat on Twitter and Instagram
SPI 729: How to Quit Your Corporate Job for Good with Brian Luebben
Brian Luebben: So I made this online course. I was living in Brazil at the time on the island called Florianopolis in South Brazil, spent an entire month filming the course morning to night, 52-hour course. Like it was everything. It was a 12-week course. And afterwards, I sent one email out to those hundred people.
I said, "Hey, I've got this course, I'm working on it. It's not done yet, but basically it's going to like help you, you know, with the stuff we talked about like a month ago. $1,500 sound good?" I made $100,000 through Venmo and Cash App in 48 hours.
Pat Flynn: Man, sometimes you have a conversation with somebody and you're just like, wow, the energy and the tips and the strategies that were shared, just, I need to go back and listen to that again. And even though I was the one conducting this interview, I went back to listen to this again. And even though I already have a business, there was a lot of golden nuggets that I picked up from Brian Luebben today, the host of Action Academy Podcast.
And he's got an amazing brand. He is a daily podcaster. So sort of similar and following the footsteps of John Lee Dumas, but he's, he's got a very specific style is very specific values and things that he is very adamant about when it comes to starting a business, you're actually going to hear. A lot of the stances that he takes on starting business and he's very adamant about that.
He teaches this to thousands of people online every single day and he helps us understand a little bit more about what's going on internally in our brains, too. So, we have a really, really great and also deep discussion. There's a lot of passing back and forth here in this one. So, I had a really good time.
We talked about his short form strategy, his short form videos, Instagram reels are taking off, which is really awesome to see. He's got nearly 200,000 followers. He hasn't been doing this for very long. And also, how he quit his job and how he figured out what to do. And also how to launch your business and product like a step by step way to go about doing that.
So this is a very, very packed episode when it comes to specifics for how to get started. This is going to be session number 729. So we'll drop all the links and everything at the end. But for right now, sit back and listen in. This is Brian Luebben and let's talk about potentially quitting your job, starting a new product, short from content, all the things.
Here we go.
Announcer: You're listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, NSYNC coming back with a reunion brought some tension into the house. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: Brian, it's an absolute honor to have you on the SPI podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Brian Luebben: Pat, man, it's an absolute honor to be on here. A long time listener. And for everyone that's listening today, I'm going to rock with you for the next 30 to 60 minutes and I'll earn every single one of them.
Pat Flynn: Oh, dude, thank you so much.
And I know you were on John's show, EOFire, not too long ago. So I'm stoked that you're here. And you know, I'm just excited because you have this incredible story and you have had rapid growth as of late, you know, a lot of people are always looking for, okay, who are the new John Lee Dumas's, who are the new Pat Flynn's?
I always hear that, actually. Like, who's, who's up and coming today? And you're not just up and coming. You're there and you're doing it and you're helping others too. So super inspiring. And I'm excited to introduce you to everybody else here.
Brian Luebben: Appreciate it, man. It's WWPFD. What would Pat Flynn do? So it's going to be a good episode.
Pat Flynn: Tell me about how this all got started for you. Cause I know you didn't set out from the beginning to be an entrepreneur, but where did this all begin?
Brian Luebben: Yeah, I popped out the womb and I was like, all right, let me look over cashflow statements and let's run off into the sunset. No, very traditional upbringing, went to the high school, college, four year degree marketing, had no idea what I was doing.
Ended up going into corporate America. Luckily, I was in sales B2B. Luckily got everything I ever wanted, which is kind of the first step of everybody's journey. I want all of you to get everything you've ever wanted to make sure that it's actually what you want. Because what happened for me was I made it to the top of the mountain. I was number eight out of 5,079 sales reps in my position. And that was in that one singular position. And I got everything I ever wanted. I won all the awards, got all the promotion opportunities. And I realized I was at the mountaintop and I had climbed the wrong freaking mountain. Wow. I was like, oh.
Like, this is no bueno. There needs to be a change. There needs to be some other path for me to go up. And they call this a sunk cost fallacy, right? So it's just like people make it to the top of the mountains like you're almost there to the summit, and then you realize you have to go back down to the base to go up a different way to actually make it to the peak.
And so a lot of people will avoid that, right? And they'll say, Oh, man, I've spent five years, 10 years in this job, in this relationship, in this city, in this town, and they don't want to start from scratch because they don't like there's so much time that's already been invested. Long story short, I looked at my boss's boss, realized I didn't want to be him.
And I went on the long and grueling journey of trying to figure out how to replace a quarter million dollars of corporate income. So over a course of four years, I was starting to invest in real estate. And then I ended up starting up my podcast, the Action Academy. Which accidentally became a business in a media company because of listening to podcasts like this and John and many others.
And I left that job in March of 2022, did the next best logical thing, which was leave my friends, leave my family, hop on a one way flight, travel full time around the world for eight months. And then I came back, moved to Austin, Texas, and now I just booked another one way. I'm going to go to Iceland in a couple of weeks because I feel like it.
And so it's a really cool life that I've built, and I wholeheartedly believe that everyone else can build the same. And there's a couple repeatable steps and processes and patterns that people can utilize, and that's what I'd like to cover in today's show. So I'm excited to jump in.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, definitely excited to dig into that.
For context, may I ask you, how old are you at this point?
Brian Luebben: 28, about to be... I'm right on the cusp of 29 here, so I could probably start saying 29 here shortly.
Pat Flynn: Well, happy birthday. Happy early birthday to you. I'm curious, when you got to the top of the mountain, what was it about that view that didn't appeal to you?
Brian Luebben: Ooh. First fun fact for everybody that's listening to apply in your life. Because anytime that I start bringing up in like the philosophical woo woo world, I'm going to bring it down into something actionable that people can actually utilize. You know, if I start writing a review for Pat's podcast. What I did was I looked at my boss's boss.
So they said, okay, congratulations. You've been kicking tail. We're going to move you to sales manager, then VP. So in corporate, what you do is you shadow the manager and you shadow your boss to like, see, and they're kind of showing you the ropes, showing you the, you know, inside baseball. And he was just shoving donuts in his mouth, missing his daughters grow up as he was flying around the Southeast United States. And he was booked 15 minute increments on his zoom calls on his calendar all day. And so I said, okay, hold on a second. Like, it's like that record scratch freeze frame and like the 90s shows. It's like, you may wonder how I got here.
I was like, you're looking at this guy. I was like, so you're telling me if I work my tail off and I do everything in my power, you know, to perform and give my blood, sweat and tears to this company, I'm gonna have less freedom. You know, so people get confused with pay overall, but they don't actually look at hourly rate.
So maybe that promotion is giving you 50,000 extra a year, but are you going from 40 hours to 80 hours of work, which is most likely the case. So I did that and I was like, I don't want to be you. And then candidly in my job, I was really good at it. But I started asking the questions like the bigger questions like, you know, what am I here to do? What impact am I here to create? There's so many people that are feeling stuck that are listening to this podcast specifically that are like, man, I kicked tail at my job, but like, there's something more, there's something out there for me, which is why they're listening to the show and they're just trying to figure out how the heck to get there.
So like, that was my wake up moment. And also. There was an 80,000 bonus check that was supposed to be paid to me and during COVID and they fired a bunch of people. So they said, Hey, we're also not going to pay you this. And I was like, Oh, slap in the face. I was like, okay, cool. So how about I just go make my own money and I build my own business around my life instead of building my life around your freaking business.
And that's when everything changed.
Pat Flynn: The boss's boss look is interesting. I would imagine everybody's now thinking about their boss and maybe that person's boss and go, well, is that a lifestyle that you want? Are they doing daily what it is that you are actually striving for? And in that case, it was very clear to you, the donuts, the missing his daughter's concerts or recitals.
I mean, that's, Yeah. Yeah. You don't want to live that kind of life. And so you saw that you noticed that very early on, which is great because a lot of people. Don't see that until it's too late and this idea that you mentioned earlier of sunk cost fallacy What was the pros versus cons in your head that were that that was going through your mind as far as like your investment into that company your investment into that line of work versus like starting something fresh. Was there any worry or self doubt or you know imposter syndrome anything that was happening at the beginning that tried to stop you.
Brian Luebben: D, all of the above. So for me good practical pieces of advice once again, so my podcast Action Academy, so I have to preach action, right?
So like a big tactic that I used is to run towards something as opposed to run away from something. So it's like pull motivation as opposed to push motivation. So push motivation is like do this work and you get fired, like negative consequence. Like if I don't do this, like this bad thing happens. Pull motivation is something that you're running towards.
You're like, I'm so excited for this. An instance of this is how, you know, happy you are at work the week before vacation, right? You're like, oh my gosh, like nothing can get in my way. Like, I'm gonna take the world by storm here. So, man, I had a crystal clear idea. Of where I was going and what I wanted to do.
I knew where I didn't know how. So I exercise that I always recommend there's a book called vivid vision by Cameron Harreld and he's a friend of mine now and he's writing the foreword to my book. So that's insane how that's come full circle, but three years ago, so I can literally prove that this works.
Three years ago, I wrote down a three year vivid vision. A vivid vision is a detailed document that's multiple pages that shares what your life, what your business looks like three years in the future, as if you're experiencing it today, now in the present. And I wrote that down when I was in my cubicle in corporate in Kennesaw, Georgia.
And I said, man, I wake up in the morning and I go out and I can feel the hot cobblestones of this of this balcony on my feet and I look out and I can see Mykonos and I can see the ocean in the background. I don't have calls all morning, but in the afternoon I've got meetings with my team. I can make money anywhere in the world with a Mac and a mic.
And you know, I've got all this passive income. No idea how that, how the hell I was going to pull that off. But I wrote it all down. I knew where I was going. So, so many people get caught in the how, and they have no idea where, let alone who, is going to help them get there. Or why. So, we're asking the wrong questions.
So, I began with where. And then ended up finding my who's, which helped with the how. Because if you would have told me I would have done it through real estate and a podcast, I would have told you you're freaking crazy. So, that's amazing. That's how it all kind of went down.
Pat Flynn: That's so cool. I have so many questions.
I think the next one I want to ask is related to real estate. It's something we don't talk too much about. Obviously, that is a way to generate some passive and residual income. It is not something that I specialize in. If somebody were to be curious about that, what would they even need to get started?
Obviously, it's a lot easier, in my opinion, to just start a business online because you don't need a lot of money. You just need to help people and show up. I agree. But with real estate, you need some form of a pool of cash to start with. And in your opinion, like, what would that be? Like what are the first steps there?
Cause that, I mean, I would love to add more real estate into my own portfolio as well. So I'm almost selfishly asking this too.
Brian Luebben: Yeah. So right now it's people that are buying homes are more frustrated than ever. We have raising interest rates, raising home prices. What I did was called a house hack strategy.
So I'll put 3 percent down on a property. I lived in it one year, lived in one part, rented the other bedrooms out. All right, so when it comes to real estate business acquisition, that's what I teach and talk about on my show. We talk a lot about the tactics of that stuff, but the reality of the situation is I have since sold that real estate.
And the reason for me selling that real estate was because now where I'm at today with the podcast and with my online business, I'm just like, you get three to five opportunities, you can count on one hand how many opportunities you get in your entire life, like where you get a ball thrown right down the middle of the plate.
And I think it's really the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful are the ones that recognize when that ball is getting thrown down the middle of the plate. And depending on how hard you swing. So like there's three trends, three, you got three opportunities, three to five opportunities in your life.
And I think that with this podcast and with the community. I'm like, man, I really want to swing for the fences here So I was like real estate gave me the first four thousand dollars a month passive to you know kind of and I live for free through the buying my own house and renting out the other bedrooms. So I was able to you know, have low expenses that helped me, you know conceptualize leaving my job, but I had to replace twenty thousand dollars a month. So the other 15 of that came from my podcast and my online business.
And so we can get into all of that, but it's just having that stepping stone. I call it building your financial foundation. So once you start that, then you can start really pouring gas on the fire to plan your escape. Because when you're, you have six figures of income, it's much more difficult to replace that or even conceptualize it.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I love this swing for the fence and kind of put the blinders on and focus on one thing that you know is a big opportunity and you're placing a bet that you don't know if it's going to work or not, but to stack things in your favor and give yourself the best chance, that's kind of what you have to do.
It reminds me of Nathan Barry story starting convert kit. He was doing his design thing. He was helping people with apps and all this stuff, eBooks, very successful. Had this idea to start an email software company. He had a really hard conversation with one of his mentors who said, you know, in order for ConvertKit to do what you want it to do or think it can do, you need to go all in on it.
This is your fastball that's going down the middle for you. Are you going to swing at it? And he did. And obviously it's doing extremely well now. They had a record month. Or a record year this past year. Anyway, let's go into some online business stuff. This is what you primarily teach now, and I'd love to know the way that you teach that to somebody who's just starting out.
We all have our different styles, just like there's different styles of real estate and you shared what style that is for you, but for business, how do you walk a person through the beginnings of that and how to scale and
Brian Luebben: grow? Oh, man, it's my favorite stuff to talk about. That's why I was excited to come on here.
So first, before we get into that, I want to share a quote. I'll share a story, a brief story and a quote that will knock people's socks off when it comes to risk, the risk conversation that you just brought up. So Jeff Bezos was working at a hedge fund in New York City before he left to go start Amazon, right?
And so he already successful career and his boss at the time, he went and walked through Central Park with his boss and he said, he said, Jeff, and he was telling him about his business plan for Amazon and everything. He was asking his opinion. He goes, Jeff, he's like, you've got too good of a good thing to risk that for the opportunity of something slightly better.
He's like, you've got too good of a good thing to risk that for the opportunity for something slightly better. And Jeff didn't listen. He, he swung for the fences and he went and did his thing. Here's the quote that I'm going to share that completely changed my life and hopefully will change the lives of people listening.
Okay, so best case scenario, you knock it out the park. Honestly, if we even get on base, that's a win. But best case, we knock it out of the park. What is the worst possible case scenario that happens if you quit your job and you go all in on yourself, right? What's the worst possible case scenario? You run out of money.
Okay, cool. Now what happens? You go and get another job. So your worst case scenario is your present day reality, right?
Pat Flynn: You're not like, Okay, well I'm going to be born again and have to go through all the education, all the experiences, all my contacts are gone, and I'm starting the game from scratch again. No.
Brian Luebben: Bingo. So people don't have a fear of failure, people have a fear of appearance of failure, and having their, like, their friends and their family point and laugh at them. So, once you get through that, then it's all gravy on the other side, because now I'm a year and a half out, and I can speak from that perspective now, so it's very, very cool.
So, how do you, you know, start an online business. How do you go about building this thing? So there's a couple, the very strategic path that I followed and I actually got it from the startup world. So like Peter Thiel, all these guys, there's a book called Zero to One by Peter Thiel and he runs this company called Y Combinator.
And I remember reading that before randomly, and I didn't know how that was going to apply to my life, but it does now because there's this thing called an MVP, a minimum viable product and your MVP is everything. So people that are listening, if you're driving, don't take notes. We don't want vehicular manslaughter right now, but come back, listen, take notes after this.
So the first thing you want to do is you want to start producing content, right? Anyway, shape or form, whatever you're interested in. Put what you're interested in out into the internet and just say, here is what I enjoy. Here's what I'm good at. I'm going to throw it out there and see what sticks. Then we start paying attention to who begins to ask us for help.
Alright, once people start beginning to ask you for help for something, at that point, we make a free offer to these people and we say, okay, okay, you're kind of interested in this. Let me give you like a taste of this. And then let's see where we go from there. So then you begin a customer interview process.
So let me share how this happened in my journey, right? So I started up the Action Academy podcast. How we make money today is not the same way that we made money in 2022. In 2022, I made $167,427 off of affiliates for my podcast. So people think of podcast money as a CPM. It's like you're going to put a podcast in for per thousand downloads.
You get, you know, whatever rate for depending on the size of the show and how many downloads. I did it through affiliates. So my audience is very entrepreneurial. So they're, you know, high as a high value audience. So whenever I was talking about the masterminds that I was in or the coaches I was using that were like $10,000 plus, all of a sudden I got a ring one day.
And it's the CEO of the mastermind group that I was a paying member of. And he goes, Hey man, we got like four people joined the mastermind this month. And then my coach said, I've got like six people that have signed up for my coaching. And I was like, Oh, okay. And they're like, yeah, we want to give you an affiliate, like 15%.
I was like, okay, cool.
Pat Flynn: And they were coming from your audience.
Brian Luebben: From my audience, organically, organically. So this is the first example of how this happened. So then I was like, okay, we got something here. All right, let's form an affiliate relationship, an affiliate partnership. And then we started mashing the gas with that.
And that's what I did throughout 2022. Then all of a sudden at the end of 2022, what am I doing? My taxes. And I started doing all the money for, like, the math. How much money did I make? I'm like, wait a second, how much money did they make? I start looking at theirs. I was like, hold on a second. All right, this ain't, this ain't jiving.
I was like, this is, I just made millions of dollars for other people's businesses. And while I enjoyed promoting them, because I am a paying member. I was like, I can do this. If people are already listening for me and like they're listening for all this, like I can do this. So here's what I did next. And this is the most important thing for people listening.
I made a free offer to my audience. And I said, Hey, you know, I'm currently filming and recording this podcast while I'm traveling around the world. I left my corporate job, six figures, you know, through real estate, business acquisition, online business, whatever have you. I'm like, I will help a hundred of you guys for free, 15 minute calls, book a freedom call in the show description.
So I canceled all affiliates and I said that was the ad for my podcast. 600 people replied and keep in mind, my show is not massive. Today, it's maybe 60,000 to 70,000 downloads a month. At the time, it was maybe 20,000 a month. So it was a very small to intermediate show and 600 people applied. I did a hundred calls for free.
And I coach people for 15 minutes. So I did the math at one point, it was like over 42 hours of direct coaching that I did over a period of two months in over those two months I asked everyone the same thing. What problem are you running into? What made you book the call? Like, what are the three major roadblocks?
If you could identify them. That are, you know, preventing you from getting where you want to go. Like, what are the three main things that are keeping you from leaving your job? And I took notes on every damn one of them. Every single one of these, I took notes. For free. And I'd made zero offer to these people.
I just said, I just coached them for free. And I just had their email addresses. So then what happens next is now I've got customer data. Here's the problem that people do. They spend all this time building a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Doesn't exist. So instead of spending all this time working in secret and silence for months and months and months or years sometimes, and then you release this coaching program or this course or this mastermind or this whatever have you, it's not, people don't even want it because you never asked them.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I've been there.
Brian Luebben: Yeah. So instead of doing that, I did the opposite. I was like, let me ask everyone first and figure out what the market actually freaking wants, especially my market, right? So now I've got a hundred people's worth of data, and I can start to compile that data and be like, all right, cool.
I know what people are looking for. People have a lack of clarity, a lack of consistency, lack of accountability, lack of capital, fear of failure, lack of confidence. It's like I knew every single problem that my target audience had. So then what I do next, I created an online course, next best thing, logical path, right?
So I made this online course and the online course, I filmed it in Brazil. I was living in Brazil at the time in the Island called Florianopolis in South Brazil, spent an entire month filming the course morning to night, 52 hour course. Like it was everything. It was a 12 week course. And. Afterwards, I sent one email out to those hundred people.
I said, Hey, I've got this course, I'm working on it. It's not done yet, but basically it's going to like help you, you know, with the stuff we talked about like a month ago. $1,500 sound good? I made $100,000 through Venmo and Cash App in 48 hours.
Pat Flynn: How are you talking to those people? Was that like email, just email?
Brian Luebben: I sent one email. Here's my Venmo. Yeah, I didn't have an LLC. I didn't have a business. I didn't have a landing page. I didn't have a funnel. I just had value in an email address. That's all. And that's all anybody needs. That's it to get started. So now I've got product market fit is what this stage is called.
So now I've got product market fit where I've got something that people want, right? Okay, so cool. Next pivot of this. So we do the course. I put everyone into a free Facebook group. And I'm like, okay, cool. You're in the course. Here's a Facebook group so you can all meet each other. Everyone in the Facebook group started doing deals together.
I was like, Hmm. Okay, cool. I was like, so, you know, now everyone's kind of, I'm over here. I'm like, okay, people are doing this thing over here. This is kind of interesting to watch. And then everyone started talking about how the Facebook group is more valuable than the course. And they started like having all these partnerships together.
And I said, Oh, I'm in the wrong business. So moral of the story for this, the business that you think that you're going to have is like, you're not going to have any clue of what it's going to look like. So the key is to just start step after step after step and iterate, change as your take customer feedback, ask your customer, what do you want?
What are you missing? What am I killing it at? Where are my blind spots? And they'll answer instead of viewing yourself like this giant cruise ship in the ocean where you turn the steering wheel and it takes you like 10 minutes to make like a one degree turn. You have to be like a speedboat that can like really quickly like navigate and pivot in different directions.
I can name so many different examples of companies that started like that. Like, Twitter didn't start like Twitter. Like, I think it was a whole different, it was like a gaming thing and then became Twitter. Like, and there's so many different. Amazon was a bookstore.
Pat Flynn: YouTube was a dating video thing. Instagram was actually meant to track like whiskey and things like that. And then people just love the photo filters of that. And then it turned into that. So you're absolutely right. Exactly. And it's so true that we build things before we even know if it's actually the right thing to build. And there's no better way.
I mean, this is what my book, Will It Fly is essentially doing too. And it's cool because you've been able to find this process in a year and a half versus took me a lot of failures to figure it out. So I'm glad we're amplifying this today, but audience will tell you what they need and then you just go build that thing.
And then it's interesting because when you go build that thing, then they're going to tell you what else they need or what they might want different. And you're having this sort of community now and stuff. So what does the business look like now? We heard about what it was like in the beginning, but today. What does it look like for you?
Brian Luebben: Cool. So fast forward to January 2023. And I've now made a different pivot based off of two key pieces of feedback. One was that it doesn't matter what they were learning in the course. They didn't yet possess the environment or the encounter, the confidence or the accountability in which to implement the information.
So it's not about information. It's about the implementation of information. So my advice to all digital entrepreneurs out there, give all your best stuff away for free. 100 percent for free, give it all away and sell the implementation, sell the implementation, sell the accountability, sell like people holding their hand and walking them step by step through the process.
So we pivoted to a community, to a mastermind model from the course. The course became the 30 day onboarding included for free within the community and everything fricking changed. So the reason I made that pivot was one, the course material wasn't the answer. People were the answer. People have always been the answer.
They're always going to be the answer. You need people that are like, like you and people that are ahead of you. And so like that was, people started really getting results once we switched to that model. And then the second reason I did it from the backend side was recurring revenue. So selling a course, I realized I had built myself a new job.
I didn't want a new job. I wanted recurring revenue. So now the mastermind's annual. So I have, you know, annual recurring revenue, ARR, for people that are unfamiliar. And I also have monthly recurring revenue, which is MRR. So you can pay either upfront in full or you can split it up over monthly. It's 50 50 of the community is kind of split down the middle.
And now since that point, we're on track to do 1.2 million, ARR this year. In this first year of inception, I've got a team of five. I'm hiring two more. I finally have understood cashflow systems and cashflow management now at this stage in Q3. And now I'm really, everything that I do is about people. So now we've got about 200 active members. And now everything I do is I'm planning for 2024. I'm like, what does it look like when we have a thousand active members? What does it look like? We have 10,000 active members and we're building out the systems at org chart to support that today.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, because, you know, it's going to change again, right?
Like as the community grows, there's more things to not even worry about, but more opportunities that can happen instead of those sort of large groups. I mean, we have communities of thousands as well on our end, and we're doing the exact same thing. We're focusing on the people part of this, right? We switched our business model just like you recently around the same time, actually, which is kind of interesting from course based to what we call community powered courses.
And that's the community. Accelerator groups, all those kinds of things too. And it's so amazing to hear another story, just like what we did, because we felt like we were taking a big risk because we were walking away from a lot of money and something that was working for a while, but as you said, things change, and we want to go with the changes.
We don't want to fight against them, right? We made that decision, and I love this example. And, you know, what's cool, and you'll see this as you grow, is the people inside the community are going to make the community even bigger. They're going to bring the people in. So, are you doing any sort of affiliate programs from within the community?
Tell me a little bit about how you're... growing the community from the inside of the community itself.
Brian Luebben: Absolutely. First off, I want to hit something real quick because it's what you're doing and what I'm doing. Nobody has an answer for it. Like nobody has a label for it. Kiyosaki did like cash flow quadrants and all this stuff.
Like people have like these monikers and these things that they create. And I looked around the internet and I finally figured out what my thing is because I was getting really pissed off at all these financial books and all these blogs and all these podcasts they're like, here's what you do to hit financial freedom.
I was like, okay, what happens afterwards? Because I genuinely believe that anyone can go from zero to financially independent within three years, with a concentrated effort and around the right people. So it's like, what happens afterwards? So you're not meant to retire, just go lay on a beach somewhere.
Like I've done it. It gets old after three weeks, you're hungover and sunburned. The answer is to build a business around something that you love. And what, so we talk a lot about passive income. I call it passionate income. So I'm like, what can we build? What business can we build where it's so much freaking fun to operate that revenue and profit comes as like the exhaust of the car as the byproduct.
So what you're talking about is, you know, a referral and affiliate model. So referral is within the community affiliates external to the community. So we do like a 500 referral for the group. So anybody that's in there, we have it baked into our onboarding. It's like a one time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. One time flat rate.
Yeah. So when somebody comes in, like we have touch points that my team handles every single time of the 30 day, we touch them like four or five times, we're having conversations with them and when we'll invite them three separate times for a referral. So the referral has been more difficult than I anticipated.
I thought that it would be like way easier. It's not referral is still difficult, even if you're crushing it as a product. So referrals count for about 15 percent of our total top line. So I want to get that up to about 25%. I'd like for a quarter of our business to be organic referral. Then it comes to affiliate.
So that's different people outside of the community that are maybe adjacent. And then they're referring people in and then they get paid, you know, the same thing, 500 upfront flat rate. And so through affiliates, that's another about 15%. So that's about 30%. We have no advertising, no marketing. So then the other 70% is coming through the podcast, word of mouth and through my social media.
So we're about to add a paid arm on top of that. So I'm about to go all in on YouTube ads because it's intent based and I'm moving away from Facebook. So that's about to change. I would like for the YouTube ads and like paid media to be up to about 30% of our total because that's something that's controllable, but right now because organic I can make content and I can do like offers to my audience. But that's not a lever that I can pull or like a faucet.
I can turn on and off. That makes sense So that's the intent with the paid.
Pat Flynn: I like that I hear a lot of people are walking away from Facebook and Instagram ads and in favor of YouTube So I think that's really smart. You have The charisma to make it work for sure. And you know, the experience behind a microphone.
So I, I like that. I'm curious to see what those ads might look like in the future. Cause you know, there's a million things you could do on video. I wonder if you have any ideas or things you'd be willing to share as far as like, what would an ad look like on YouTube to push into your community?
Brian Luebben: So I try to make it as UGC as possible.
For people that are unfamiliar, that's user generated content. So I've gotten really good at short form. And because now the, my Instagram account has been blowing up. And it's like almost at 200k now. Yeah, I got like 6 million views last month through short form videos, just organic. And so I've kind of got like the framework down.
So it's, it's a hook, excite, 2 to 3 bullet points, call to action. That's every video. So hook their attention, 2 seconds. Most important part, just like a headline is 80 percent of every ad. The hook is 80 percent of the video. So you got to get their attention. The excite is why they should, why should keep their attention.
So like, who are you? Why should they listen to you? So interesting thing, why, why should they listen to you to tell them the interesting thing? Two to three bullet points of interesting thing. And then where can they find more of interesting thing? So you're trying to educate or entertain. Bonus points if you could do both.
So I'm trying to make my ads as similar to my short form as possible. So I did it while I was in Costa Rica. We just did a 42 person retreat. We did our first in person Action Academy retreat and it was the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. Man, it's like, Oh, it was so beautiful. And I filmed all the ads.
I took an entire day filming ads while I was there. So I'm excited to get going on that. I'll report back when we figure it out.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Nice man. I like that. And I do think your structure for short form works really, really well. I watched a couple leading up to this interview. There was one that had a really incredible headline.
It's almost one of those headlines. It's like, wait, is that real? Like, how could you say that? And now I'm listening, right? You, you had mentioned like, you shouldn't be really good at your job. I think was, was right. Like, don't be too good at your job. And then you roped me in by saying, you know, because here's what happens when you do that, you get promoted, then now you have a team.
Then now you have to do these presentations and now you're doing all the stuff that isn't the original thing that you went to do and and now you're locked in and they have you now.
Brian Luebben: Yeah And then your original performance starts decreasing because you're not focusing on the things that actually put a paycheck in your pocket, right?
Pat Flynn: So the idea being like don't be too good at your job. Be good enough so that you can spend that extra time to then build your side hustle and all this stuff. And I really like that I thought that was really clever and I like that hook and it's obviously a little spicy of a take and it's going to make some people think one way or another, right?
You're drawing sort of a line. And what's cool is when you draw a line on social media, people will talk on either side, which helps with the engagement. And then now you're being seen by more people. And so the call to action from a video like that, what is that specifically for a person who likely is going to see for the first time on that video, where do you take them from there?
Brian Luebben: So I had a massive pivot in my media strategy about six months ago, and it's obviously like shown through my socials now, because now I've got about a million combined followers, which is crazy to think about. I did that in like six months. But the difference that I made was like, how many podcasts do you see where they're like just pumping out like generic podcast clips, right?
And like, that's their entire content strategy. And it's like, awesome. And I used to do that too. But I was just like, Okay, people aren't that interested in talking about like multifamily cap rates and business acquisition and real estate and all this stuff here. I was like, I feel like I'm spending too much time on the plane ride and not the destination.
So, if you're a travel agent and you're selling Hawaii, and this comes from my sales background. So, if you're, if you're selling tickets to Hawaii, you're not going to talk about the plane ride. Not going to say, oh, you get the best window seat and the most plush cushion in leather. It's Egyptian leather as you're flying across the ocean.
No, you're going to sell Hawaii, the destination, instead of the plane ride. But the plane ride is what gets them there. So, my short form is to sell the destination. I'm like, hey. Here's the problem. If you haven't already identified it, I too have experienced the problems. So I have been in your shoes. I made this change, this change and this change.
And now here is where I'm at today. Do you want to be where I'm at today? Cool. I'm not going to be able to freaking teach you that in a 60 second TikTok. But I sure as hell can teach you that in a 60 minute podcast episode. Right? So my call to action every single day is with every video, say, if you like this content, I help people leave corporate jobs through real estate and business acquisition.
If this is interesting to you, give me a follow and check the link in my bio for my daily podcast. We'll teach you how to do it 100 percent for free. That's my call to action every single video. So what I get is I get the follow on the social media and then they click my link tree. So I have a link tree link in my bio and then they go there and then they'll be directed to I've got a 78 percent CTR.
So just click through the right on my link tree and I get a couple thousand a week now. Half of them will go to like my newsletter or to a lead magnet or to a click funnel. And then some of them will go directly to my podcast and then become a full time long term podcast listener. So you get their attention, you educate and entertain briefly just to get their attention in the short form.
And then you direct them to your long form. So your podcast or YouTube to sell and convert to a customer.
Pat Flynn: Absolute gold, man. The final question I have for you, and I know I feel like we could talk for hours about this stuff. And I'm sure at some point we'll cross paths. definitely do that over drinks for something.
But first of all, really inspiring. Congrats on all the success and all that's to come. And I feel like you're just at the beginning here. What are some of the, as your business has grown, what have some of the growing pains that you're now experiencing? You know, what got you here won't get you there. So I'm curious to know what growing pains you're going through right now in your journey.
Brian Luebben: We got another hour? So in business, and I know like, so we can talk about business here too, like this framework applies to everyone, no matter what business you're in. So you need to go if you, I have a goal to impact a million people by December 31st, 2025, I want to help a million people leave unfulfilling jobs that they hate to build a life that they love.
So you need scale and leverage to accomplish that. So in your business, you need to go from me, to we, to they, and that's what leverage looks like. So, I do it, we do it, they do it. So, I do it by myself, I do it together with a team, eventually I can remove myself so the team operates it independently. And that's, that's the cycle of leverage in every single business.
So right now, going from me to we was difficult, because then I had to start relinquishing control. But now, you know, nine months into it, I've got a couple of rock stars on my team that handle the operations of the group, and then I handle the growth. So I'm like, okay, cool. So now we're a we do it. Very difficult to transition to a, they do it.
So to like completely let go and be like, yo, I'm going to go two weeks away from the business completely. Like you've got this. That's very difficult. The most difficult part of business is the hiring and figuring out like what your next phase looks like. So where everyone messes up in business is what they do is they're reactive instead of proactive.
So they'll grow and grow and grow and grow and get everything they've ever wanted until they realize that their fulfillment and product can't like meet the demand, because the product and the course and the community that you build at 100 members is not the same in the team. It's not the same team, product, community, whatever that will support 1000 members.
Exactly right. Yeah. So it will burn out and it will break over and over again. And then that will decrease your LTV, lifetime value of your customer. And people will churn and people will leave. So instead, what you need to think of is you need to be thinking 5, 10 steps ahead. Every single stage of your business.
So like me asking the question. What is a thousand members look like? It's a very difficult question to answer. And so that's been wracking my brain like what team do I need to build to support that? How much does that team cost and where do I find them? Because at a certain point of business it begins with like a product problem and then becomes a people problem. So that's probably exactly what you go through in your business at this stage.
It's like you're just looking for the right people to like run everything, correct?
Pat Flynn: All about people, dude. It's all about people. I'm so lucky because Matt on my team has helped me find really good people who are now playing the role that I once played. Being the person who is interacting with a lot of the community members more because they have a specialty, because they have that same desire that I have to help people.
What's your take on a person who's just like, you know, like I just want to be small. I'm going to follow the Paul Jarvis company of one sort of thing and just have a few clients and I'm not going to grow and therefore I won't burn out because I'm controlling that growth and I don't want to grow. How do you feel about that when it comes to lifestyle businesses and sort of curious because you're in rapid growth phase, you're leveraging a million people by 2025, you have to go the me, we, they route.
But what if a person's cool not doing that?
Brian Luebben: They suck. No. Every single person needs to clearly define what winning looks like to them. Exactly right. If you are not 100 percent clear of your business, of your vision, of your winning, of your metrics for winning, if you're not 100 percent clear, you're 100 percent unclear.
If you're 95 percent clear about what you want, that means you're 100 percent unclear. So, people need to define what winning looks like for them. For me, personally, I want to make all the money in the world. I'm not a beans and rice frugal guy. I view myself as like, I feel like Steve Irwin every single day when I wake up.
Steve said, give me all the millions of dollars. I'm going to put it all back into wildlife and conservation. I want to grow the zoo. How I view it is I'm like, Give me all your freaking money and I'm going to put it into marketing. I'm going to start reaching this message out to every single person to let them know you don't have to waste your life away.
You don't have to delay your happiness. You don't have to delay your joy and fulfillment of life until you're freaking 65, 70 years old. Like it exists today. It's here and it's like available for you. And it's not even just joining my freaking paid thing. It's like in my podcast and your podcast, like it's all here.
It's all there and you have one freaking life for just like on this floating spinning rock going through an infinite universe. That's my goal. Your goal may literally not be to travel around the world. You don't want to make millions of dollars. You don't want to go do this insane thing You want to actually stay below the radar and just chill and I'll tell you what if you get crystal freaking clear on your goal of going and getting that cabin by the lake. And you're sitting there with your wife or your husband and your cat, and you're just being able to walk outside and hear the birds sing every morning?
Dammit, I want you to have that. But you're not gonna get that unless you're clear about it. Plain and simple. So you need to clearly define what winning looks like for you. Not for me, not for Pat, not for anyone else here at the podcast. For you. And life changes when you get that clarity.
Pat Flynn: Yes, it does. Yes, it does.
So maybe that's everybody's homework right now. If you aren't clear, even if you're 99 percent clear, well, there's still you're, you're 100 percent unclear. You got to figure it out. And that determines your actions that determines your goals, everything. So man, dude, thank you so much for this, Brian. I'm inspired.
I think a lot of people are gonna be inspired by this and will want to follow up and see what else you got going on. Where would you recommend they go? What else might you have to offer? Let the world know.
Brian Luebben: Yeah, so I would go check out Action Academy podcast. So I talk on there every day 472 episodes I haven't missed a day in a row even when I travel every single day I put out a podcast episode and that's partly inspired by you. So I want to give you your flowers again, man.
Pat Flynn: Like, I'm not a daily podcaster. That's John's deal.
Brian Luebben: I know but no, but still just just I was just like man like OGs to the game, you just got to give flowers where they're due. Thank you, brother. So Action Academy Podcast. You can go if you guys want like a free training that goes deep into like the clarity, the vision stuff, how to do that yourself.
You can go to QuitYourJob.co. I was really gunning for quityourjob.com, but somebody beat me to it and they won't let me buy it from them. So, QuitYourJob.co. Got free training, free resources. And then besides that, just peep me on social media. If you Google me, I'm the least hireable person in America right now.
I'll never have a job again in my life because when you Google me, it's just every single thing is here's how to quit your job. Here's how to know when to leave your job.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, nobody's going to ever hire you, but you won't want that anyway.
Brian Luebben: Yeah, the ships are burned, man. So thank you so much for having me.
This has been awesome.
Pat Flynn: Amen. I appreciate you.
Alright, I hope you enjoy that interview with Brian Luen. You can find him at Action Academy Podcast. Go subscribe to that. You can find him on his website and QuitYourJob.co if you want some free stuff as well, his website, BrianLuebben.com. Plethora of information. He's got a blog there, an ebook newsletter, check him out on Instagram. That's where he is most active and he is doing really, really well there. So Brian, thank you so much for your energy today. I appreciate it. I do feel how you have absorbed things from myself and John Lee Dumas and a bunch of other people.
And I appreciate what you said about how I've helped you and, and I love what you've done and how you've taken it and made it your own and congrats on the daily podcast, man. I hope you keep that up and I appreciate you.
Thank you also for listening all the way through. I appreciate you for that. And if you want to get the show notes and everything mentioned in this episode, head on over to smartpassiveincome.com/session729. And since you're here you might as well subscribe to the Action Academy Podcast, millionaire mentorship with Brian Luebben.
All right thanks so much i appreciate you and i look forward to serving you the next episode. Peace out.
Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!