In this episode Josh talks with Tony Whatley, author of “Sidehustle Millionaire”.
Tony Whatley became known as “The Side Hustle Millionaire” after his book with the same title became a #1 best-seller on Amazon. But, this book title isn’t just fiction; it is based on his actual story.
Tony once led a successful corporate career for over 25 years, but that is less interesting than the side-businesses that he created, which generated millions in profit.
As an active entrepreneur himself, he still owns a few businesses. But, his real passion is teaching entrepreneurs how to start, scale, and sell their business, within his consulting brand 365 Driven.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
- What is the difference between Employee vs Entrepreneur mindset?
- How to build a side-hustle that creates real profit?
- The importance of public speaking skills
- Why does consistency win?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business. My guest today is Tony Whatley. Tony is a serial entrepreneur and he has a book out called The SideHustle Millionaire, but we’re not going to start there. We might have end up there. We’re going to start off with, he builds entrepreneurs. I’m really curious about– I have one question to start with. How do you do that?
Tony: I think the most important part of any kind of business ownership is the mindset. I really consider the mindset as a foundational part of any business ownership. When I do the coaching or when I’m doing the speaking or even the book, the first two chapters are about getting the right mindset.
Because I realized that most of my clients, we worked our way up through the either the poverty ranks or the middle class which have a lot of different self-limiting beliefs that we get programmed with things like, takes money to make money and I don’t have time and know all these different excuses that we carry around because of our peers and our environmental factors and our teachers or parents and friends. They show up and they want to do business, but they’re still stuck in the employee mindset is what I call it. There’s an entrepreneurship mindset and an employee mindset.
Josh: What’s the difference between the two?
Tony: Typically the employee mindset and I had this for most of my life as well as we’re thinking about how we trade our time for dollars. So when I was younger and I needed more money, I would go find a job. Sometimes I’d work two or three jobs to get out of debt and do things that are crazy. That’s just the way I was taught. My parents were both blue collar. Mom worked in a public school system as a cafeteria lady. My dad worked in the chemical refineries his entire career.
For them steady job, go and get a job, go get more money, go get a raise. These are the things that we’re programmed with. Even in the school systems, they teach you to become an employee not an entrepreneur. When you start to realize in business ownership especially with online businesses, there is no relationship between time and money. You’re a financial guy, you realize you see money gets earned even from interest or compound interest over time.
It’s not really relative to you trading your time, your physical hours, your location, and your mind your skills to create that income, that wealth. So when you start to understand entrepreneurship thing, we also think about return on investment. That’s even applies to financial or business. We look at things that are purchases and go, “What is the return on that?” Where employee mindset, we tend to fixate on cost or price like that’s too expensive or that’s the price, everything’s about price.
There’s focused on price. They want to go hire a coach. They want to spend on education, they get a degree. They go, “Whoa, that’s just too much money. It’s just too much money.” That’s short sighted. That’s the employee mindset is they don’t really think about the return on that investment.
Josh: So Tony, I have to interrupt you and ask you a question because something just occurred to me, how many private business owners or entrepreneurs still have an employee mindset while they’re running their business?
Tony: Honestly, I would say if I were to put a number on, I would say more than half people because I think a lot of people create their self-employment rather than a company.
Josh: Yeah, I would say it’s probably closer to 90 or 95% actually.
Tony: There you go.
Josh: There’s 28 billion businesses in the United States and only 6 million have any employees at all. All the 150,000 do more than $10 million in sales. That shows you how narrow, how fast it gets people who have that what you’re calling an entrepreneurs mindset which is I analyze my investments based on a return on investment. I’m not analyzing my investments based on what it costs.
Josh: I was in one of those conversations yesterday with a client that has a $7 million business. It’s a nice business. It’s a really nice business, but I spend a stupid amount of time working with them saying, “Stop thinking about the cost. Stop thinking about the return.”
Tony: Yeah, another one is, when I’m helping out these clients, a lot of times they’re still doing a bunch of administrative or technician level tasks. They should be operating as a president or CEO. When you start to think about what’s the plan, let’s look at everything that you do on a complete day and we start to look at how much time they’re attributing to checking emails or doing these little administrative tasks that they can be paying somebody 10 to 12 bucks an hour to do.
They should be earning 80 to 150 an hour doing what they normally do. Then they don’t want to hire someone like, “Oh, I don’t have the money to do that.” It’s like, well, let’s calculate basically 2000 work hours per year just on average. Let’s say like all these minutes you’re spending hours and hours a week doing that. This is what it’s costing you not to get ahead.
You should be doing the visionary things. You should be doing the scaling things. You should be creating the valuation of your company. You should be creating the culture, being a leader not doing these kind of things. It’s like mind blowing that they try to skimp on pennies. That’s another self-limiting belief because when we grew up especially in middle class, it’s actually the hardest one to get out of.
People hear this, “If you can do it yourself, you shouldn’t pay somebody to do it.” I know people that were millionaires out there still mowing their yards. They’re millionaires mowing their yards and they think like, “Why would I pay somebody to do that I can do that myself. I have a mower.” I’m thinking because that’s like a $10 an hour job. You should be like using that time to go do something else that you enjoy or maybe build your company a little bit more.
Josh: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. I have lots of mindset people on the show and I asked the same question to every one of them. Just because I find this sort of like a very curious question. It’s my chicken or the egg question. What comes first mindset or action?
Tony: Action, I think a lot of times people do not have the confidence until they can keep promises to themselves and they start to deliver. I wanted to just say that action is not just massive action like we hear all this stuff on the internet nowadays. Action is just one step. It’s a baby step. If you can do one baby step and you do several of those in a row soon enough you can look back and you have traveled a long distance and baby steps.
That’s important because as you start to take those steps, you gain more confidence. You gain more motivation because to me there is no motivation like productivity and just taking action. That’s just you get better you start to see results. You take more actions, but don’t think that you need to be the confidence. Don’t think that there’s a perfect time to start because there’s no such thing. The perfect time to start is always right now.
Josh: Yeah, there is no perfect time. There’s a whole bunch of stuff and I agree 100% by the way, is that actually action is the precursor to mindset. If you’re not taking action, your mindset will never change or as I used to say when I am on my vending company fake it till you make it?
Tony: Whatever you create the perception of you become.
Tony: You create the perception of the future version of yourself or the size of your company or your success. You start making the decisions like that future version that you have in your mind that you’re going to become that that’s just inevitable.
Josh: We have this thing going on all the time in us which is who am I and how do I go about doing this? Mindset’s great. I mean, I think that mindsets really important and at some point, mindset really does rule the roost, but if you’re telling yourself a lie where you’re saying you do these affirmations where you’re saying I’m wonderful and beautiful and–
Tony: Everybody likes me. Gosh darn it.
Josh: Yeah. [Laughs] Yes, unless you’re taking the steps to do that stuff you just become Stuart Smalley for people don’t know who Stuart Smalley was. He was a character on Saturday Night Live. That was his shtick was that he would do these affirmations but have no action behind it. I agree 100% of Tony’s action first and then do the affirmations, or the mindset or whatever you’re going to do to make that into a belief system.
Tony: I’m a believer in the law of attraction. I used to be a skeptic, but there has been too many cases and situations in my life that it’s actually shown up. Even the word law of attraction, the last part of this action. You can’t sit around and pray and hope for things. That’s what most people do. Like, “Oh, I wish I could do this. I wish I could do this. I hope I get this someday.” Law of attraction is that visualization manifesting and then taking the actions to go get there. That’s the key and most people forget that part.
Josh: It was putting yourself in the position to take advantage of what comes your way. This is something which I find which is really interesting. Nobody ever talks about this. The difference between really successful business owners and not so successful business owners is how well they take advantage of that good luck that comes their way. We all have good luck. We all have bad luck. We have to manage the bad luck because if we don’t, it’ll destroy whatever we have. The real issue is, what do we do with the good luck?
Tony: I think that you touched on something that I like to talk about. It’s the awareness of opportunities. That awareness goes away when you tell yourself stuff like I can’t afford that or I’ll never be that or I’m never going to be a millionaire. When you tell yourself that, you basically program your subconscious layer of your brain and it turns your brain off from those opportunities. Where if you are thinking that I will be a millionaire. I will have 10 million. I will have a 100 million.
I’m going to do these things. I’m going to invest in these skills, what you’re doing is you’re feeding your subconsciously of your brain goals. Your brain is a huge problem solver that loves to work backwards from goals. It likes to get that treat at the end. The endorphin release and the experience and the emotion that you’ve attached to the goals that you said. If you don’t have those goals, you’re going to miss these opportunities. We see opportunities every single day when our minds are wired to look for opportunities.
What it is, is that your brain is going to be like, “Josh, there it is. There it is. There’s the opportunity. I found you the opportunity that’s going to get you to the goal that we’ve been talking about Josh.” You need to go get on that and if you don’t have those goals set, you are unfortunately never going to see them.
Josh: The other thing you need to be thinking about, at least in my opinion is you taking advantage of opportunities, but how do you handle mistakes? Because if you’re taking action, I hate to say this, but most of the actions we take don’t work.
Tony: Absolutely, absolutely. Statistics even say that but that’s the thing, man. You know what the best analogy that I like to use on that is the Hall of Fame Major League Baseball. So the sluggers, the home run hitters, the Hall of Fame batters, they only bet 30%. When you think about that that means they fail seven out of 10 times when they walked up to that plate, but they’re still in the Hall of Fame. They’re the greatest of all time. Think about that. It’s like a lot of people see my business success.
They see this online community that I’ve built a group of 300,000 registered members and they, “Oh man, that’s amazing all those things.” SideHustle Millionaire made millions of dollars aside but then will see is that I actually made seven other communities that failed and only one that took off is the one that people remember. You have to learn to fail quickly and take that as a lesson and then move on.
Most people don’t remember the things that you fail at. They remember the things that you succeed at, but the problem is a lot of people are unwilling to put themselves in a situation to even get to the failure point. They just avoid taking action and getting into such– it’s like, I don’t even want to do that because that’s like people will talk about me. There’s too many people worried about what other people are going to say about them, what they’re going to think about them so they just avoid those situations when they should be trying, failing learning and then just doing an adaption and going to the next try. Do something else, just keep trying.
Josh: One of my favorite thinkers, he died about 30 years ago he’s a guy named Buckminster Fuller. One of the Fuller’s great sayings was two things around mistakes as mistakes are learning opportunities which is absolutely true and you don’t learn less. When you think about you don’t learn less, what that really means is the only way you’re ever going to learn anything is to do it wrong and make a correction off that. That’s basically what we’re talking about when it comes down to how do we get that mindset to be an entrepreneur to be successful because if you can’t handle the stakes, you’re never going to make in business.
Tony: Absolutely, absolutely. Most people are not afraid of failure, Josh. They’re afraid of what people are going to say about their failure. That’s the human thing that—we are pack animals. We don’t want to be ostracized. We don’t want to be singled out. Most people are not willing to do like what you’re not doing getting on a podcast or doing live stage events or doing live videos on social media or starting that business or starting their fitness journey because they’re too worried about walking into the gym, being obese and not being familiar with the equipment and feeling out of place and everybody’s looking at them. We got all these people out there not doing what they should be doing because they’re worried about what other people are going to say or think when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
I go to the gym six days a week. When I see someone that’s out of shape that’s actually making an effort, I give them the most respect. That’s the most things like when people are willing to show that courage and put themselves in a vulnerable place and take the stage in a spotlight to do a speaking event like I do. I have the utmost respect for those people because they have way more courage than anybody in that room who cannot do the same thing. Most people understand that these things that were– these vulnerable moments and these putting yourselves out there and starting that business. These are shows of courage. Most people admire when other people do it, but the thing is that they’re not admiring themselves for trying to do that. They don’t they won’t even try it. It’s this weird dichotomy of like, “This is what you want, but you’re not willing to do it so why aren’t you doing it?”
Josh: Yeah, a lot of behavioral economics is that we try to avoid pain more than we try to get gain and avoiding pain means that I never make a mistake. The other thing about making mistakes which I think is a big deal. I’m interested on your take on this is that people who won’t make mistakes also won’t take personal responsibility for their life. One of the things that I’ve noticed about successful business owners versus the rest of the world is successful business owners are really good as a rule of taking responsibility for what happens in the world. They don’t blame others when things go wrong. They don’t make justifications. They just make corrections. They hold up for that and they move on. As a result, they tend to be a little bit moral about how they run their business. This is especially true with privately held businesses versus public businesses, at least in my experience.
Tony: I agree. I totally agree. Accountability is key. If you’re walking around blaming everyone for your situation, you’re failing to realize that the life that you currently live is based on the decisions you made years ago that led you to where you’re at today. If you want to get somewhere you need to start making the right decisions, to get that version of yourself. Most people just like to blame.
They like to blame the politicians and they blame their boss. They blame their spouse. These are all their decisions, too. We vote. We married the right people. We choose the friends that we hang around with. We give people access to our time and our proximity that we allow. These are all our decisions.
So unless you’re mentally disabled, then you have no cognitive ability to do the things that you want to do. You can even say that you’re handicapped and you can’t do that because we see a handicapped people doing some amazing things in this world. Remove the excuses, start to understand like other people do have it worse. I hate to think of it that way, but other people do have it worse than you but they’re doing it so much better than you so take accountability. You have this key, man. I love that.
Josh: For me, one of my core values is personal responsibility. I just won’t work with people who are not personally responsible, I can’t do it. It’s absolutely, I will help them try to understand that through either justifying your blaming, but if I can’t get past that then I have to disengage.
Tony: I agree. I agree and you know what happens with the people that share excuses like that? It’s because they choose to surround themselves with other people who share those same excuses. If you and I were both sitting here and we were excuse makers, I would give you a surface level excuse, you would nod your head and go, “Yeah, me and me too.” We would never delve further than that. We been trained at that surface level excuse me is like, we’re not going to talk about this. Like when you say, I don’t have time. I don’t have money. My wife doesn’t support me these kind of things. That’s just surface level average—
Josh: Those are just justifications or blaming. That’s all.
Tony: Yeah, exactly and when you ask someone like yourself, Josh or me, I can tell we’re like, “Oh, you don’t have time? Well, let’s look at your calendar and see what you really do all day.” And then they’re like—
Josh: Where are you putting of what you think is important? You really might not have time, but it means you also probably means your priorities are screwed up.
Tony: That’s it. When you reframe and call it everything your priority, it causes some pain sometimes so when you, “So I don’t have time a little.” No, it’s not your priority. That is the honest truth. It’s not your priority, but when you say things like, “Well, my priority is sitting on the couch and watching TV or my priority is going to the bars on the weekend or my priority is playing video games or my priority is eating too much food and not being in the right condition.” When you say it like that, it sounds really weird, but that’s the truth. If those things do cause you pain, that’s the actual truth. Pay attention to that.
Josh: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely true. You have a book called SideHustle Millionaire. I assume that’s a relatively new project for you, or is that something that you’ve had for years? Tony: The book I released back in May of 2018 and sold nearly 5,000 copies hit number one on Amazon for two weeks in the business marketing category was my very first book.
It’s really a book on how to take your ideas for business. It’s a beginner’s book. If you have ideas and you’re busy professional, maybe you’ve always wanted to start that company. What I do is I outline the process of going through that so you have the best odds of success. We have two chapters on mindset. The next chapter is about evaluating your actual business ideas to get you to the financial or time goal that you’re setting for yourself. Then it goes into the branding, and the marketing, and the social media strategy, and the website design. LLC vs. S corp or C Corp.
These different things that people have common questions. So when I was writing this book, I just use my social media audience. I said, “If I was going to write this book on how to start a company, which questions would you like answered?” They flooded me with these questions, I started to see the pattern. I knew, Josh if I could answer all these questions, I would have a best-selling book because you got to create something that people want. That’s what I did.
Josh: Cool. Well, it didn’t help having a big community there.
Tony: Well, the community was actually—2007 is when I sold that community. I’ve been building my own coaching brand during the last two years. So I decided that I have an amazing story. I need to help people. My purpose is to impact the generational legacy of millions of people. The best way I can do that is teaching them confidence, communication skills, and my business skills.
Those are the things I have a lot of passionate about so I invested in myself heavily. I become a public speaker and had coaches and joined Toastmasters and I started doing the videos. I built this brand in the last two years. A lot of people see it. They think it’s been around for a long time, but I was actually very introverted and hiding on the other side of the camera for the first part of my life until I decided, “No, this is just– I left the corporate world three years ago and I said that that job was my excuse for not doing what I should be doing.”
Josh: Okay, so you’re the prototypical side hustle millionaire.
Josh: You had a corporate job and you started a side hustle and the side hustle became big enough which allowed you to leave your corporate job.
Josh: Absolutely. I’ve been in project management oil and gas engineering for 25 years. I was highly paid. I was multiple six figure salary. That was my main excuse, but the thing is, I’ve always owned businesses on the side for almost 20 years now. Those have earned millions of dollars on the side and people always thought that the lifestyle that I was based on my career, but the thing is, is I had the self-limiting beliefs of my own that I paid from my own engineering degree.
I’ve got this degree and I want to waste it. I’ve got this job that’s paying me a dream salary that most people will never achieve. Who am I to walk away from that, Josh? That’s these self-limiting beliefs. It was just the sunk cost fallacy come to find out. Those things, investments are always going to be there. I can always go back. That was the thing that kept me from doing the things that I love which is helping people and teaching them about business.
Josh: Cool. Hey, Tony, unfortunately, we’re out of time. It goes by really fast. You’re a really an interesting guy. I’m going to bet there’s a lot of people who are listening to this or watching that who would like to contact you. How they do that?
Tony: My website is https://365driven.com/ so 365driven.com and you’ll find links to my book. My own podcast at 365 Driven Show. You’ll find all the blogs and everything else I create on that one website. Keep it simple.
Josh: It’s a very good site by the way. I’ve been poking around it a bit this morning so I knew what we’re going to talk about. I also have an offer for you, too. One of the things I think every private business owner struggles with his cash, or specifically cash flow. I went through it myself. I almost went bankrupt several times my early business career. What I learned there are five distinct stages that you go through and five different sets of problems you’re going to go through as you move from having no cash to achieving cash flow freedom. I put together a nice little infographic on it. You can get it free. All you have to go to https://sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow and you’ll get my free infographic. This is Josh Patrick. We’re with Tony Whatley and you’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.