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SPI 743: Buying Back Your Time and Becoming the Best Leader Possible with Dan Martell

Which parts of your work are actually moving you toward your goals? Most entrepreneurs are stepping over dollars to pick up dimes because they haven’t figured this out. So, how do you get clarity around your vision to unlock more time, profits, and productivity?

I strongly encourage you to listen in on today’s episode to find out. My guest, Dan Martell, has built several multi-million dollar companies. He is also an award-winning investor with an insane track record and the author of Buy Back Your Time. [Amazon affiliate link] The knowledge Dan shares in this chat will inspire and motivate you to step up, map out your direct path to success, and take action!

So, what are the three areas you need to develop to build the life you want? What are the misconceptions about growing a business that are holding you back? How do you generate more profits and use them to buy back your time?

Dan and I cover all this and more. This session has tips and strategies for everything from leveling up your mindset to hiring and time management. So don’t miss out—tune in and enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Dan Martell

Dan is a serial entrepreneur having built several multi-million dollar technology companies starting at the age of 17. He’s also an award-winning angel investor, having invested in companies like Intercom, Udemy, Hootsuite, Unbounce. Today he’s an executive coach focused exclusively on B2B SaaS working with the founders from,,, and many others to help scale their businesses in a predictable way. He lives in Kelowna, British Columbia with his wife, Renee, and two boys.

You’ll Learn


SPI 743: Buying Back Your Time and Becoming the Best Leader Possible with Dan Martell

Dan Martell: When things are going good, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs that got lucky that product market fit, but they actually didn’t learn, right? It’s like people that win the lottery and then they don’t get to keep it because you should pray that if somebody gave you a million dollars that you quickly become a millionaire because, if not, you’ll lose it.

So for me, I always remind myself as I’m doing things and I’m failing that that’s a moment for me to stop, reflect and learn. So if that’s the game we’re all playing, and we are as entrepreneurs, then the question is, is who do I need to become?

Pat Flynn: It doesn’t matter what stage of business you are in. You should always be looking to figure out how to, in a way, buy back your time. Buy back your time with the decisions that you make. Buy back your time with the tools that you use. And, of course, over time as you scale up, buy back your time with the people that you hire around you.

And this is an important conversation that we’re having today with my good friend Dan Martell. Dan is a nine figure, yes, nine figure business owner. He coaches coaches. He’s written books. He speaks on stages. He is an advisor to several different huge companies. And he’s here to help us today. Awesome, also, because he’s a family man, very, very dearly cares about his kids and his wife. And I hear about them all the time because they’re awesome. And I’m just grateful to have him on the show with us today, because he’s going to be able to unpack a lot of his advice that is relevant for, again, all stages of business.

And even if you’re just starting out, this is something that’ll get your thoughts around. Well, what should I be looking for and what is the process and what kind of people do I hire? We even do a little bit of a hypothetical experiment. What if you do hire or you have come across a few dollars in your business and you want to reinvest it in time and what do you invest in and what do you do with that extra time?

Well we talk all about that and more today and of course we recommend, I recommend his book, Buy Back Your Time. I mean the value proposition is right there in the title. Anyway, you’re going to hear a lot more about Dan in the future if you haven’t already because he is just seemingly everywhere, especially as you grow and scale your business.

And we also talk about leadership as well and how to be the best leader possible for you and your team, your family, and more. So here he is. Dan Martell.

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. He watches Disney Jeopardy religiously every week with his family, and he’s the weakest player. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Dan, it’s such an honor to have you on the SPA podcast. Thanks for being here, man.

Dan Martell: Oh, Pat, the honor’s all mine, man. Just, just so you know, I love everything you do and we’ve known each other for a long time.

I was recommending your book this morning, Will It Fly, like somebody was like, I’m starting a business. Don’t know what I should do. I’m like, just go read this book. Cause I think it’s one of the best books written for people just starting off.

Pat Flynn: Oh, thank you. And then we can pass forward after they start your book to buy back your time and we can kind of do a handoff there.

But we’ll talk about your book in just a moment. But why don’t you introduce yourself to everybody listening who might not know who Dan Martell is. Obviously you have such an expertise in the space of startups. You’ve helped several, I mean thousands of different startups come and many of them exit. You yourself has had several exits, but what is your superpower?

What’s your expertise here?

Dan Martell: You know, I think the. My superpower is I love studying topics, trying to extract the kind of minimum effective dose or the 80, 20, or even the 90, 10, honestly, the, the 10 percent that drives a lot of the results and then share that with other people. And I think in my, early start of my career was doing that with software, like using software as my vehicle.

And then over time, people, teams, and then now just working with other entrepreneurs, you know, either companies I own through, I have a hundred million dollar hold co where we buy software companies. So we, you know, we hire CEOs, I coach them, right. You know, coach my coaching clients. And it’s my favorite thing to do.

Like even this conversation, like, I mean, when I look at my calendar, I’m like, what lights me up? It’s talking to other entrepreneurs about ways to improve their situation.

Pat Flynn: So good, man. I absolutely love that. And in your experience with everybody who you’ve coached, all the companies, like what is the 10 percent of stuff that they’re doing that is working?

Because I think a lot of us who are listening right now are starting and it’s just like, there’s a giant, it’s a Cheesecake Factory size menu of like all the things you could do to succeed and all the different options you have to grow. But what is really working today?

Dan Martell: You know, the truth is, Pat, it depends on stage.

So a long time ago, I learned that businesses break points or what I call complexity ceilings at different revenue levels. And it’s in ones in three. So a hundred K is the first ceiling, then 300 K, then a million, then 3 million and, and onward. So it all depends where people are at. I would say what is universal is, one, you know, the truth is profits solve all problems. If you have a problem that can be solved with money, then you really don’t have a problem. And I think most people spend too much time getting, they’re busy doing stuff that doesn’t drive revenue. And that means then they feel like they’re constrained because they don’t have enough resources.

But if they actually unlocked the revenue area, like I have a person on one and one of my companies, his name’s V, his title is Unlock Revenue. Like that is it. He’s a weird cat because he’s a copywriter ad person programmer. And he just talks to everybody on the team to say like, where are you stuck? And how do I unlock flows of revenue because again, profit solves all problems. So I would say that’s 10%. I think the people side, you know, Pat, you I’ve seen your journey and like every time you’ve brought different talent and higher caliber talent and you know, we, when we invest in the people, you know, oftentimes people are like, well, what if I like train this person and invest in this person and then they leave. It’s like, What if you don’t and they stay? And I think that’s always an interesting conversation with people is just how much time, especially the coaches of the world, like I coach a lot of coaches, which sounds super meta, but they’ll spend 90 percent of their calendar week coaching clients and talking to clients.

And I’m like, how much time do you spend coaching your team? And yet you complain about them that they’re not responsive. They don’t participate in meetings. They don’t move with a sense of urgency. It’s like, well, why don’t you show them what that looks like? Why don’t you coach them no different than you coach a customer?

So I think the people side is a big area. And then the other one that the best of the best and I definitely learned this, you know, when I moved to Silicon Valley in 2008 was they have vision, they have real clear vision and my definition of of great vision is if you can describe the future to the same specificities, you can describe your current situation, then people now understand what you’re doing and and they can figure out how to get there. But for most entrepreneurs that struggle, it’s because I don’t think they even know what they’re doing, right? They don’t think they know where they’re going. I don’t think they understand why they’re doing it. And then it just becomes really hard.

Pat Flynn: So what do you do if you’re in that situation? You’re kind of not even sure what’s possible or, you know, even doubting your own skill sets. How do you even begin to grow something when you are already feeling like that?

Dan Martell: So you’re to give yourself permission to dream. That, when I was 23 years old, I like sat down and this is after two failed companies and I’m like trying to figure it out.

And I think I read Good To Great by Jim Collins. And, you know, I, I kind of read it as a green starting entrepreneur to fail businesses like I was worried. I sucked so bad. I would never be able to succeed. And he talks about, you know, vision and, and what that looks like. And I just gave myself permission to kind of lie to myself.

I mean, I’ll be honest with you, Pat. I was like, I’m going to generate 50 million in revenue in five years. And I’m going to have a hundred employees and five continents. Like dude, there was, I was living in a town of 80, 000 people in the East coast of Canada and had 0 to my name. But yet I pulled out back then Microsoft PowerPoint, and I created this story, this narrative of what could happen, you know, and I remember the first time I presented it to the three other people on my team at the at that time, and they were just like, can we figure out how we’re going to get paid? Like, I love this Dan, but like, we, we’re not even paying ourselves. And I’m like, I know, but we now know what we’re doing, why we’re doing where we’re going. And this is the other thing I gave myself permission to change it. If it wasn’t accurate, if any year I’m like, you know, I don’t want to do this anymore.

I just, you know, I tweaked it, but I just kept consistently communicating that vision. And I think that provided at least alignment for people. That without that, it just can feel frustrating because if you’re in the thick of it, of the pressure in the noise of entrepreneur land, it can feel overwhelming, but if you have some level of a vision of what, why you’re doing this and what direction you’re going, it can gives us some, some inspiration and motivation when honestly, we don’t have a whole lot of proof.

Pat Flynn: I mean, that’s so true. And even in SPI Media with our company, we’ve been a lot more diligent with where are we going here? What’s not just the mission, but the vision. And like, let’s actually describe what life is like in 2024 and 2027. Like how many members do we have?

What, what’s our capital look like? And you know, how much are we making on a annual basis with recurring revenue? And it’s interesting because we started doing that once Matt came on board in 2019, 2020. And we’ve actually been able to hit a lot of those goals and most of them in fact, and I think it’s that direction that you put in the navigator that allows you to, if you get off the wrong path, it’ll tell you to get back on and sort of get you right back where you need to go.

But I want to ask you, because this is reminding me of Rocket Fuel and this sort of visionary purpose and these ambitions and goals that we have and that’s very much kind of where I am. I’m a visionary. I’m an idea person. That’s only half of the battle. I mean, you have to have integration, you have to have execution.

So for somebody who is in that camp of, okay, these are my goals and my visions, but doesn’t necessarily know how to execute, where do you go from there?

Dan Martell: I have a few thoughts on this that sometimes aren’t. As I don’t know, not that they’re not popular, but like I think the the concept of I’m a visionary and I just need to find my integrator and then that person comes on and like now I get to go out into the world and not pay attention or not do stuff as you know, Pat, that’s just, that’s silly.

Like that’s not, somebody still has to be the CEO of the business. And I just run into this all the time with folks that, you know, read a book and then they go all in completely opposite and then wake up in eight months, 16 months and go, what happened to all the profit? What happened to the people? And this thing’s going off the rails, right?

I think when you start off, the truth is, is You won’t know how to do things. This is a crazy, unless people have been doing this for a while, they don’t realize it, but you only learn when you fail. People are gonna be like, ah, I don’t like this gallery. But it’s just true. Like when things are going good, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs that, you know, got lucky that product market fit, you know, the same people in the business went, you know, through the roof, but they actually didn’t learn, right? It’s like people that win the lottery and then, you know, they don’t get to keep it because, you know, Jim Rohn used to say like, you know, you should pray that if somebody gave you a million dollars that you quickly become a millionaire because if not, you’ll lose it.

And I like that concept. So for me, I always remind myself as I’m doing things and I’m failing that that’s a moment for me to stop, reflect and learn. So if that’s the game we’re all playing and we are as entrepreneurs at different levels with different, you know, zeros at the end of the numbers. Then the question is, is who do I need to become?

Right? And so when you say like, how do I learn how to do this? My philosophy, and I talk about it a bit at the end of my book, because you know, once you buy back your time, it’s like, what do I do at this time? I look at it three core areas. Number one is the skills. Because no matter where you’re at, it’s, you got to ask yourself if I’m here, now, at the beginning of the year, and I want to get to there, what skills do I need to go develop or learn or acquire to allow me to operate at this new level? Right? Because we don’t get what we think we want. We get what we we fight for what we think we deserve, right? So if you feel that you want to deserve this level of leadership of CEO in your business, a million in revenue, then you got to ask yourself, what’s the difference between how you’re showing up today versus then?

So that’s the skill side. The other side of it. It’s kind of like a ladder. Yeah. Is the beliefs, Pat, the amount of people I talk to and just in their language, the words they use. And they just, they don’t even think about it. They’re communicating to me that they don’t believe that they’re actually going to win.

You see this all the time, man. It’s like, you know, it’s, it’s language. It’s, it’s arguments. It’s so, to me, the beliefs are, what are the worldviews that you have? What are the beliefs you have around these things? You know, some people have a belief that I don’t want to run ads. My product should be so good people should just want it. It’s like, okay, then don’t desire to grow 10 X. Cause sometimes you may have to run paid acquisition, right? Yes. Focus on your brand, whatever. But so it’s like all these weird. Beliefs on life, leadership, money, partnerships, et cetera. Some people are just horrible partners. They, they, they couldn’t bring a mat into their business.

You know, these people, you probably get, I know. Here’s what I know. You got some really great success with Matt. And I bet you’ve gave that same advice to other people and you’ve watched them not do it. stumble on it. Why? Because they haven’t worked on their own psychology to become a person that can be a good partner.

That’s a skill and a belief. Then once you’ve got those kind of things figured out, then for me, it’s all about the character traits. Because I know a lot of people that have a lot of skills and I know a lot of people that have a positive mental attitude and they have zero character traits that are going to propel them forward.

So things like discipline, right? People like, I don’t feel like it’s like your motivation doesn’t matter. Like to me, I just, I’m not that guy. How I feel doesn’t dictate if I get up and do what I said I was going to do yesterday. That’s discipline. That’s grit. That’s resourcefulness. That’s tenation. That’s communication.

There’s character traits of a person that operates at a higher level that I think everybody, if they were honest with themselves, they could probably describe like somebody that’s running a 10 million year business probably doesn’t cancel meetings with their direct reports. Just saying, throwing that out there.

If you’re doing that, you should probably stop, right? Because, because these are, these are just kind of the things that, you know, you value your time better. So like, again, these are all character traits. And I think if you take those three things, the skills you need to develop, the beliefs that aren’t serving you anymore, and truly audit them, and then lock in those two things with the character traits, that’s how you figure out how to become better.

And all the problems will still happen. You just get to work on bigger problems.

Pat Flynn: Before I ask you about buying back time and how one might do that in our businesses and what to do with that time, which I know is a struggle, I want to dig a little bit deeper in this with the people that you coach and in this world of business, how much is success related to your mental sort of just positivity and this attitude and the character that you have versus the strategies and most of the stuff that people are looking for, right?

We want the strategy or the next book or the next tool or piece of software that’s going to solve this problem for us. I, I want to hear from you, the expert, somebody who’s worked with so many people, like what does it really take and how much of it is mental versus, you know, strategy, strategy.

Dan Martell: Yeah. Yeah. Tactics. You know, yesterday I went for a walk with my dog and I love calling my dad. Okay. My dad’s favorite thing to do. Is to ask me about my private coaching clients only have a handful, but I don’t give names or anything, but he he loves hearing their stories and then giving me advice to give to them and I and I love, yeah, and I just love, you know, entertaining my dad and like talking to him because, you know, someday that phone won’t get answered.

So I’m very cognizant of that. And we actually talked about this because one of my coaching clients, multi generational business. Yeah. Okay. They were, I think, third or fourth, fourth generation. So it was like the great grandfather or the grandfather, the dad, and now the son, and he had an opportunity to exit the business.

Okay. And it was a significant amount. I think it was like 52 million. And you know, the problem was, is that the name of their last name is tied to the business and he didn’t feel right selling the business with the name, but the buyer obviously wanted the name because that’s the goodwill in the market.

Right, and he was trying to, to negotiate out of it because he felt bad for his uncles that were still alive and his aunts that were like on his dad’s side. Because when he took the business over, it wasn’t that big, you know, a couple million bucks. So like over the last 20 years, he’s built it into something that’s worth, you know, 52 million to somebody. And. And he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. So strategically, I say, here’s a simple answer. Find out what they’re willing to pay for the business without the name. Now, you know, the, the value of the name, right? So let’s say they say, well, we’ll pay you 20 million, not 52, then it’s like, cool. That’s a 32 million worth of value. Then go to your. Aunts and uncles and say like, Hey, I just feel really guilty. I’ve got this opportunity to sell the business, but I know that, you know, it shares the same last name. And I’m just curious, like for, for me to feel okay there, I’d want to make it right with you guys, you know?

And again, these people, hopefully they’re not crazy. Like they know that they weren’t involved in building this thing, but I said, find out what they think it’s worth. And my gut tells me that that total amount of money is probably less than a million bucks. And then the problem solved. So, Pat, I share this because that’s the tactic.

Strategically, I call it the math. The math of the problem is very well defined. If you isolate it, that’s what it is. The mindset, though, had nothing to do with the math and had everything to do with the personal psychology of my client, right? That is torn of the fear of, you know, what would my aunts and uncles think?

And then when we started clearing that up, then they go, well, now what if the person buys a business and then they mess it up and then they tarnish my last name? Oh, that’s interesting. Let’s talk about. So when you ask that question, me and my dad were kind of pondering it. And I told my dad, I said, I think the number is 90 percent psychology.

I think 10 percent strategy and tactics. But I mean, the internet is full of information on how to do anything. Pat, you put most of it out. I mean, you’ve taught everything you’ve ever taught. Like it’s just die empty, right? Like you’ve lived this life of just giving it. And yet we know people that consume that information and don’t take action on it because that’s the psychology.

And I’m just such a big fan of like, we become our thoughts. And I think that you know, vision and communication and mindset and gratitude and all these things create so much, you know, Think And Grow Rich, man. It’s a, it really works. Like I, every day I wake up and I look around, I’m like, it actually works.

It’s like, you just need to hold that vision, that belief at a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the time. And it’ll come true. So I would say it’s 90, 10, 90 percent mindset, 10 percent

Pat Flynn: tactics. I knew you were going to go there because, and first of all, this is a great story and I want to have a chat with your dad too.

He sounds cool. He’s so cool. I knew this because on your Instagram, you often talk about, you have a lot of posts about all kinds of different things. I mean, you’re a family man. You talk about your family and the way that you raise your kids sometimes, which I really appreciate and I love your philosophies there, but you often talk about the mindset of the entrepreneur in a lot of your posts, especially some of the ones that go viral or, or, or get a lot more reach.

And I think that speaks highly to just how much you know about who it is that you’re speaking to because you know it is about kind of the emotion behind it. And in some cases, you have to take the emotion out of it to do the math and see what’s right there. But in other cases, the gut matters. You have to listen to what you’re telling yourself.

And in some cases, even though it might not on paper or by math terms be right, you still have to kind of listen to yourself sometimes too, right?

Dan Martell: I think you should listen to yourself a lot. Like I would say it’s even more so. So to me, it’s math and mindset, but I’ll give you a story. The other day, my videographer, he travels with me, you know, he watches the way I maintain relationships, you know, Pat, like, you know, we’ve been friends for a really long time.

Like I, I reach out to you, you know, we try to play dates. Like I just learned a long time ago for me personally, like, money’s cool, but if I don’t get anybody to share it with, then how great of a life do I really have? So, you know, I, I do annual snowboard trips and mountain bike trips and snow biking trips.

And like, so I have like this rich relationship with my family. Every two years, we split every alternating year. My wife and I will do the whole family in one house. Hers is in the summer on a lake. My, my, my family, it’s on a ski hill, right? So this March coming up, we’re going to a ski hill, 18 of us. Like, so I over index for that stuff.

And, and my videographer was asking me like, what’s your system, right? Cause people read my book are like, man, this guy’s process driven, you know, checklists and all that. And I get it. I said, you’re not going to like my answer. And he’s like, why is that? I go, I check it with my heart. I literally, when, if I’m going to Utah. Next week I’m going to Utah. I literally just quiet my mind, check into my heart. I ask my, I’m a person of faith. I ask God, I go, who should I connect with? And I just, I default to whatever comes up. I mean, how often Pat have, you know, you go for a walk and you think of somebody and you just dismiss it.

That’s not me. If I’m walking out of the a lot of people that I know on social media and in person, a person’s name just happens to come up to me. I’m like, there’s probably a reason. And that’s just how I’ve lived my life. And it, you know, I’ve got enough evidence now that it’s an incredibly powerful strategy.

Yeah. So I’ve got this, like this thing called Mendy. I pull it out of this box. My dog ate my previous one, so I had to get a new one, but it’s this Mendy band. And the philosophy is we actually have to teach our frontal cortex and our heart. It’s called heart coherence too, because our bodies actually make a lot of decisions.

So most people don’t realize this, but that’s why they say our gut. So to your point, I would say most of my decisions when I’m truly undecided left or right and all things being equal, I default to being guided. You know, every morning I wake up and I create and I do that because I want to be connected to my creator and I want to use that to channel.

I mean, before this podcast I sat down and I made some notes of some stories. I asked myself like what would Pat’s audience want to hear what stories what strategies and just made some notes and then I’m here. So I do that quite a bit.

Pat Flynn: Thank you, Dan. I appreciate that a mix of hard data and heart data. I think it sounds like the answer I just made it up.

I don’t know if that’s good or not. But anyway, let’s talk about time. Time is an issue For most of us, because there’s only so much of it available and depending on how we run our day and or run our team, there could be more time available or less time available when you’re working with a coaching client, what is time like for them? And how do you solve for that?

Dan Martell: Yeah, it’s obviously it’s my favorite thing in the world. That’s why I wrote a book about it. Here’s what I learned is, you know, no matter who you are, if you desire for more, which I think is most people listen to this podcast, then who you are today is not who you need to become to achieve that next level.

So if that’s the case, then essentially an easy way to look at it is 50 percent of what you’re doing this year cannot be still what you do next year, or you’re not going to have the space to grow. It’s just like a simple like concept you should, people should just consider whatever your week looks like now, in a year, if you want to grow 50 percent of that stuff needs to be handed somebody else given to somebody else. You just, you need to create the space. So when I sit down with my clients and these, you know, usually I work with folks that are incredibly successful and they’re looking for the edges and we do a time and energy audit, part of my framework called the buyback loop. And there’s three simple parts. Usually people come to me when there’s pain. That’s kind of normally hire somebody when you get better. Yeah. It’s very rare that somebody is like, I just want to get better. So I’m going to hire a coach. But so usually there’s pain around balance integration with their family, the, you know, maybe they bought a new company, maybe they had a birth or whatever.

And what we do is a two week time and energy audit. That’s step one. Right. And I, and I look at their calendar and I make them do the audit, but we look at it through energy and value of the tasks, meaning like to pay somebody else to do that test for us. Most people are stepping over dollar bills to pick up dimes all day long. And I can just prove it. It’s like whatever your business is making the revenue, divide that number by 3000. That’s technically your effective hourly rate. And anything you could pay somebody else a quarter of that number to do for you is probably, like, right off the bat, the math side, you know, the, the hard data that’s, that’s right off the bat. Just an easy one. So that’s the time and energy on it. But even think about just energy of like doing things that light you up. Like I give myself permission, I just resigned from a board. I realized I didn’t enjoy going to the board anymore. So I resigned and now I got an extra 90 minutes every couple of weeks back in my calendar.

I can reallocate it. Some people might, you know, have a commitment or they, they allow themselves to get on calls too easily with introductions from people they don’t even know well. And then they’re on those calls for 45 minutes going, what am I doing on this call? Just give yourself permission to stop it.

So time and energy audit is a big area. Then, then it’s transfer. So once you have that, audit done. And you look at your calendar and say, well, these things are red. So they suck my energy. So that’s not good. And then these are things that cost very little pay somebody else. You take all the red stuff and the low cost stuff and you put them together.

And that’s the only next hire you should make. So, so the buy back principle states, you don’t hire people to grow your business, you hire people to buy back your time. Because if you do the second, you get the first, but if you do the first, you definitely don’t do the second. And that has been my truth. I mean, I made the mistake so many times where I got big and I got financially successful, but then my life looked chaotic, right?

Whereas now the way I built all my companies, I use that principle as a guiding North star and the bigger it gets, the more time I get, that’s crazy concept for a lot of people to, to believe, but it’s true. So transfer step two, how do you take those things and give it to somebody else to do and their strategies around that?

And then the third part is still once I get that newfound time, what do I do? Not go hang out on the beach, not go crush another season of some of your favorite shows on Netflix, but actually reinvest that time strategically in becoming. More so that you can deal with more, right? Like I’m not a four hour work week guy.

I’m a build your empire guy. And my definition of empire is a life of unlimited creation. You never have to retire from. And that’s, that’s the kind of life I want to live.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. And I think that’s an important point. You know, there are people who are listening to this, who want a little bit more of a lifestyle design to business where with that fill time, I mean, it might not be sit on the beach, sipping pina coladas kind of time, but it’s also not, okay, let’s add more work to my plate now either.

Right, and again, this is going to who are you and what are your goals and what are your visions? And if you, however, are like Dan, an empire builder, what would be, if, let’s say for example, somebody who’s, let’s do some hard numbers here, let’s, you know, they’re, they’re in the 300, 000 range, right? So they’re at that level in their business and they now have just hired people to buy back their time.

Like you said, they’re following the strategies in your book and now they have an extra three to four hours a week to work with, which is amazing. What would be the best use for that time?

Dan Martell: Reinvest in yourself. So it always starts with your energy. So health is wealth, right? And my coach and I call it belt buckles and bank accounts.

Your belt buckles shouldn’t go up and your bank account shouldn’t go down. So start with you, your energy. So like if I wasn’t working out and I got an extra three hours a week, I’m taking an hour and I’m going to the gym, right? And I’m going to, because I know that that energy is going to show up. I mean, just the confidence, the certainty it brings, like you’re going to be better for your team, better for your family.

Pat Flynn: This theme comes back all the time. This idea of your health is your wealth and the investment in yourself so that you can then better serve others. You know, we will often, especially the heart driven entrepreneurs listening, they’ll take that extra time and put it into their clients. They’ll put it into their families and that’s important.

However, if you are not well enough to be able to take care of any of those people, then you’re just actually doing them a disservice, right? You need to put the mask on yourself first before you put it on, on, on others. And oftentimes for starting entrepreneurs, there is sacrifice made on health and sleep and other things to get to that point.

I love that answer. It’s like, okay, as soon as you finally get that time back, okay, now bring back yourself to your best version of yourself,

Dan Martell: right? Yeah, Pat, I mean, people have beliefs. I was, I was talking to a woman the other day and you know, I told her this when I, you know, I said, what’s the big vision for the business?

She’s like, I want a triplet, cool. What about your health? She, cause you know, she admitted to me that she had been like 45 pounds overweight and she’s like, you know, I’ll get to that later. Okay. No. And, and it was funny because I said, I said, the healthier I got, the more money I made, she goes, I don’t think I believe that.

And I go, I agree you probably don’t believe it. And it’s actually a self sabotaging belief that you have. So imagine this. Imagine if you believe that the more I grew my business, the more unhealthy or more weight I would put on, how hard would you show up? How determined would you show up? How tenacious would you be in solving problems to grow your business?

If you knew the downside is I’m going to put on weight, you wouldn’t. So it’s fascinating. People have these beliefs around like, if I grow, I’ll have less time for my family. Not necessarily. If you don’t get better a hundred percent, if you don’t learn the strategies I teach in my book, a hundred percent, like that is will happen because you are not good enough. But Pat, nobody wants to hear that.

They don’t want to hear the language. You’re just not good enough because if you were, you could. So my philosophy is, you know, and I teach this in the book, it’s a perfect week. So I’m not asking anybody to work more like I only work 36 hours a week, but I’ll tell you those 36 hours are very, very well thought out, very deliberate, very focused.

And I run a multi nine figure empire. Okay. So like there’s no limit to how much you can do in the time. But I also joke with people. I spend millions of dollars every year to buy back my time to scroll TikTok. Like that’s true. I literally choose to lay on my couch sometimes 45 minutes, just decompress at the end of the day, scroll some TikToks, you know, get motivated.

Like, but my content is pretty fun. Like it’s either comedians or motivational pieces of content, but that’s, you know, when I look at where I invest my time and energy, that’s, that’s how I do it. So I think beliefs is, is one of those things that, that stop us. So I would say that’s number two. So it was like step one, work on your health, have a higher capacity and energetic feel.

And I love that you brought this up. Here’s what I know about health. Cause I used to be 265 pounds. I was like 40 some pounds heavier. Now I just finished doing an Ironman on Sunday. I’ve done four years of clean swim. So like I was super unhealthy. And I got that in check. Once I had kids, I realized, Hey, this is not just about me anymore.

And when I was sick, I had one goal, get healthier. And then when I’m healthy, I have a thousand goals. So some people just don’t wait until you’re sick or you can’t. I mean, literally, I remember asking this woman, I was like. Well, how bad would it have to get for you to decide to make it a priority? She’s and she said to me I’d have to be in the hospital unable to work. Not in the hospital, she added unable to work. And I’m like, this is gonna be fun. We’re gonna have a lot of fun together because you know, I see all these things surfing to the top. Then I would say the third hour is It’s the skill.

So it’d be like one, the health to spend an hour on the beliefs, right? Read The Psychology Of Money. There’s all these great mindset books. Reread books. I only read books that are written older than 1940s because all the new stuff kind of was written about that stuff. And then I’d say the third one is figure out what skill you got to go develop.

If it’s how to operate a business, read. Read Traction by Gino Wickman or Rocket Fuel or, you know, just like consume the information to develop the skills to then bring that to your problems. And man, those three hours would be just so better, better invested. Again, that’s not, but if you’re working a hundred hours, no, take those three hours and go spend time with your family.

You know what I mean? So it’s like, If people are workaholics, they were doing it wrong. Like, I’m not that guy either.

Pat Flynn: As we close up here, this has been fascinating. Thank you again, Dan, for the time today. I want to ask you, because I have you in the room here, about the future. You know, things are changing really quickly.

We’ve all heard about AI and have seen it and feel it from an expert startup, supporter, coach, thought leader, how can businesses future proof what we have going on now? What are the things we need to look out for that might be dangerous and what’s exciting that has got you energized today about the future.

Dan Martell: For me, it’s all exciting. I’ve been into the A. I. Stuff before, you know, last October when GPT 3 came out here. Here’s the way I look at it because I teach a lot of my coaching clients specifically because they’re like, Hey, a lot of the stuff is kind of being done by A. I. And I go agree. So the way I think about it until and this is a caveat until Neuralink, right?

Or somebody decides to create brain machine interfaces so that now we get connected directly to if that happens, all of this is off the the table, but what I know to be true is a lot of the, the work we do right now around, I mean, even content creation, Pat, like, you know, people are reshooting old courses.

I would say, wait, because I can create a generative video, a generative voice and generative and like, and all of a sudden, not only can I reshoot all of your old content with the new version of you, you know, not the 15 year old older version of you. But then I can also light it. Right? Yeah. It’s like, who’s that guy?

That was me. But you can also license other people’s material, right? So all of a sudden now you can, in your own program, have the best Facebook stuff, the best speaking stuff, the best whatever, because you can license it and you teach it, but it’s not you. It was the AI. So that’s interesting. Then when you look at multilingual, then it’s like, Oh, now I can sell my IP.

So I think there’s going to be this whole new, especially for content creators, this new like future platform of intellectual property and that kind of stuff. And then when I look at like just the business intelligence side of the world, so like, let’s assume all the data collection and sorting and all that stuff’s figured out, like the accounting stuff, they still, you know, I have a team of people to do, but I wish they didn’t have to do it because this to me seems like an AI thing.

That’ll all be sorted. Then it’s really about predictive stuff, right? And it’s like running financial models and looking at the data. So I think that’s where like Google probably has an advantage because they have a lot better structured data than most. You know, let’s say Even if that world in and is it 16 months or 36 months?

I don’t know. It’s definitely coming. It’s not going to slow down like humans want the faster iPhone. So let’s let’s just assume that’s coming. Then what doesn’t change? And this is where I call it neural transformation. As long as people still don’t have the ability to jack into the A. I directly into their brains, then they will always be the wet mind, the computer in your brain, it’s, that’s gonna be the limiter. Right. So what are some things that will always be true if that’s the case? Well, becoming a great leader, becoming somebody that inspires other better communicator, building your brand. I mean, I’ve just watched you absolutely crush it and inspired me.

I mean, I’ve decided in the last six months since the book came out, like I’m, I’m making every other business I’m involved in secondary to my personal brand because that is something that has forced multiplier impact of leverage on all the other stuff. You know, I’m friends with Alex Hormozi and watch him do the same thing.

So I just think, like, The skill set around storytelling, the skill set around communication around your own psychology, that will never change. And then the tooling is just going to make the ability to produce outcomes a lot easier. I mean, the AI stuff that I’m looking at, it’s, it’s literally, it’s, it’s science fiction, but it’s here today, you know, like all of this, like, and sometimes I wonder, it’s like, am I talking to an AI?

Pat Flynn: Like, is this, you know, what if you were, I just programmed this earlier, but no, I I mean, no, this is I and I love what you said there at the end, which is like, you know, I will always be me. You always be you. And the connection between us is always going to be something that I can’t really replace or at least not yet, right?

Dan Martell: No. And this is a thing even with like music, like a drummer can can you can hire a robot to drum the beat and it sounds robotic, right? A real musician understands the energy exchange in the soul, right? And that’s just going to take a lot of compute power to make that happen. I’m not saying it can’t, but right now I think what it gets us is really good first drafts of things.

And then the human, that’s like, when we talk about the heart, dude, it’s like you can tell when somebody created something from the heart, the food, the music, the content. And I just think that’s never going to be replaced. Never as in next 36 months, probably not.

Pat Flynn: Asterisk. Great. Yeah. And this is why I mean, I feel like the things that I’ve wrote in my book, Superfans are really important.

These are the human connections that you can make with your audience that now in this day and age where a lot of things are being automated, a lot of things are auto generated. The human parts of that will stand out even more. So hopefully we’re all injecting that into our businesses and at the same time, not overextending ourselves and being able to buy back our time.

So definitely check out Dan’s book. Where can we go and grab it? And where else can we go? Find your work, Dan.

Dan Martell: Yeah. My favorite place is personally Instagram. I just love the platform. So @DanMartell. And if people follow me and then send me a message, just tell me you came from Pat Flynn, I’m not doing this for everybody. I’ll send them my internal EA playbook, my executive assistant, Mike, like literally Google Doc, no opt in, no nothing. Just mentioned EA, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Now you’re just tracking to see how useful this time was for you, right? Cause you track all your time and you want to see how.

Dan Martell: No, I just teach it. So I have to do it. You know how it is. And then is the best place to go get the book. It’ll redirect you to Amazon, Chapters, wherever you like to buy it. The Audible book, I actually read myself, Pat, and I put bonus content at the end. So I like really double clicked on it. But yeah, honestly, if anything I said.

You know, supported. I would love another reader. I mean, you’ve written books. It’s like, it’s such a cool thing when you meet somebody that’s read your book and I’m just super honored.

Pat Flynn: Hey man, I’m honored too. Thank you so much. Looking forward to connecting, not while recording, so we can just chat about family life like we always do.

So I appreciate you, man.

Dan Martell: All right. We’ll talk soon. Thanks again.

Pat Flynn: Wow, I told you this episode was going to be bonkers and Dan went so deep with so many of these things and the hypothetical was great. I love what he said about hiring for your time versus just the skill, like how much time is this particular hire going to buy you back so that you can understand how you might reinvest that time into something else or like I often say, how do you take a break and just not fill that time in and either way you are buying that time for a reason that’ll reinvigorate you in some way, shape or form.

So anyway, definitely check out Dan’s book, Buy Back Your Time and check him out on Instagram, @DanMartell and he just offers such amazing advice and he’s just such a kind person and you know, he’ll randomly text me just to check up on how I’m doing. Like that’s, I just love that kind of stuff and so Dan, I appreciate you so much and I appreciate you the listener. In this episode, I think it’s going to be extremely relevant, especially for those who are inside of our SPI Pro community. If a little bit more established business owners who are communicating with each other who are partnering with each other in there, this is the kind of episode that can definitely help them achieve the next level.

So if that’s you, if you are an SPI Pro, there’s a lot of you, this one is for you for sure. So thank you so much. I appreciate you. Hit that subscribe button if you haven’t already. And again, check out the show notes if you want to get all the links and things mentioned in this episode at And like I said, be sure to subscribe because next week to finish off the year, we have an episode with Ali Abdaal, approaching 5 million subscribers on YouTube, the world’s leading expert on productivity and the theme being, how do you actually enjoy being productive?

Let’s find the joy in that. Let’s do that together next week. So hit that subscribe button. Let’s finish off the year with a bang. Here’s to an amazing 2024 together. Cheers.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at 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!

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