• Evan Ryan

Free Days

Seconds and Cents Episode 16. Today we're going to talk about free days. Today we're gonna talk about taking time away. I'm excited to talk about it because I found that as an entrepreneur, when I would work a lot when I would hustle a lot, I would get a lot of stuff done. But I also found myself making a lot of mistakes. And then what what happened was I would have to fix mistakes that I made when I was tired. And then I started to take free days, I started to take days totally away from work, I do absolutely no work. And I found that my business moves faster, was more profitable, we got more done and less time. And I didn't have to put out as many fires everything just was a little bit easier. And so to talk about free days to kind of orient you towards where the idea for free days came from because it didn't come from me. I came from Strategic Coach. So Strategic Coach is kind of premier business coaching on for entrepreneurs. Dan Sullivan, the co- founder of Strategic Coach is one of the best CEO coaches entrepreneur coaches in the world. He's coached a lot of game changing entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs that you see all over the internet entrepreneurs that you see all over in print, and just really, really incredible, incredibly successful business people, and even better people in general. And so how did I become exposed to Strategic Coach? Well, I'd spent just a couple of months prior to my first time going to Toronto, for coach, I had spent pretty much my entire life savings on a trip to go to China, with Peter Diamandis with abundance 360. And so this China trip was basically an eight day adventure trip where you're going to get to hang out with some of the best and the brightest business minds in kind of North America and in the Western world, and in China. And so Peter was bringing in, you know, 16 1718 real world class entrepreneurs, some of the best in the world, in their industry, absolute captains of industry, and he was taking them to China to meet some of the captains of industry in China, and I found that out that there was one spot left on the trip, and that they probably weren't going to be able to fill it because it was about three weeks before the trip was about to go. And so I gave Peters team a call, I said, Hey, I would love to I would love to join you on the trip. I know that nobody else or that I know that you have an open spot. I don't think anybody else is going to fill it. But I can't pay full price for it. I can only pay half price for it. And it turns out that they accepted my going for for half the cost, which was pretty much my entire life savings. So in three weeks, I got a Chinese visa, I booked airfare and I got on this plane to China to go spend eight days with some people that I thought were just absolutely game changing. I thought that meeting them and kind of flying closer to the sun would be really, really, really good decision for the rest of my entrepreneurial career just to be able to learn from them. And I thought to myself, well, I'm 20 at the time I was 23 years old. How many 23 I get to spend time with a bunch of people who literally made industries, who created industries, and who created new markets, to sell things into and to really just change the world. And I thought, well, how many 23 year olds would get would be able to hang out with these people for eight days absorb all the information they possibly can, and then apply the information that they learn for the next 50 6070 years. And I thought, well, I've got to do it. I don't care if it's the fiscally irresponsible decision. So I get there, and I meet somebody there who is literally the best in the world at what she does. She does design and development for senior living facilities. And we just kind of struck up a conversation. And so we struck up a conversation we spent eight days together, we leave China we said we should absolutely work together once we get back to the States. And nothing happens crickets for two months. So I've barely started to recover my bank account balance. Two months later, I got a cold email from her. She says, Hey, Evan, I need you to meet me in Chicago. I can't tell you why. So I got on a plane in Chicago. And it turns out that it was this session was with Dan Sullivan with Strategic Coach. And she was actually doing a collaboration as it related to artificial intelligence as it related to software. She was doing a project for AI for software. And she invited me to collaborate with her. And not only did she need me to collaborate with her, but she needed me to be able to speak the same language as she spoke. So she brings me to the Strategic Coach session where Dan Sullivan, one of the best CEO, coaches, one of the best entrepreneurs and coaches in the world, is they're spending an entire day basically coaching Me and 30 other collaborators while they're sitting in the room. Now, remember that? When I got to Chicago, this was a cold email after two months of not speaking to this person. I had no idea why I was going there. We literally jumped in an Uber together on the way to a cocktail hour and I said why am I here? What do you need me for? She explained the entire project to me Spoiler alert, we didn't even end up doing the project because the next words out of my mouth were Hey, I don't know, I don't think you need me. I don't think actually what you need as an AI person, I think you actually need somebody else. But we get there. I'm spending all this time a Strategic Coach, and this guy at a cocktail hour says, Are you in coach? And I said, Well, I'm not he asked me how old I was. I said, I was 23. He said, You need to join Strategic Coach, you need to join it today. I asked him why he said, Well, back in the 90s, I started an internet company and my buddy also started a company and I spent my last dollars go into Strategic Coach my buddy did in the 90s. I sold my internet company, my buddy's internet company failed. I started a second company. I sold my second company. My buddy is still on his second company. I sold mine and now I'm working on my third and I credit my success in large part a Strategic Coach. So I talked to Dan Sullivan. The other coach Dan Sullivan's wife, Babs Smith, who's the other co founder of Strategic Coach. I said, How can I get in here, she said, you can get into coach. There's a session that begins here and a month. So a month later, I'm on a plane to Toronto. Now, there's a really key point that I need to mention, which was, I had just barely made enough money in order to be able to afford going to Strategic Coach for a year after I did this whole China trip. I had also just hired my second contractor at the time. And so I basically invested my last dollar into going through shih tzu Strategic Coach, and I get there and they ask for documentation from my accountant saying that I made over $100,000 last year and I'm just kind of sitting there saying spoiler alert. I didn't it was the year before was my second year in business. I think my income was, I mean, my income, I believe was like less than $30,000. I had made effectively nothing. I would have made more money. Working for $12 an hour $13 an hour's I did my college internships. And so I get there I say I just can't I don't have this documentation. I'm sorry, I kind of sneak into the room, right? So I wasn't able, I wasn't gonna be able to produce that type of documentation. So I just told him that I would get back to them and I'd email to them I never did. So to any Strategic Coach employees who might be listening to this, I snuck into Strategic Coach, I hope you don't mind. And so I get there. We have a great morning, we have lunch, and then in the afternoon, they start talking about time and they say, Well, you've got to start taking more time off. And for me, it's so the year prior to my being in Strategic Coach, I'd spent I'd taken 13 days off total 13 days off total. And they said, taking days off is the first thing that you should do. They said we call days off free days because you are free to do whatever you want besides work. So they said you need to take free days and they said on top of that free days, actually come first. So their reasoning was, you know how you leave, you get off of a vacation and you kind of feel so rested. You feel so rejuvenated, you had so much energy that you just the whole work week, right after vacation. After you get over the vacation hangover, of course missing the beach or wherever you work is so easy. And it just flows nicely. There's very little stress, you get back in the swing of things really fast. They said, Well, why don't you just make every day like you just got off a vacation. And so why don't we rethink rejuvenation? Why don't we rethink rest, so the rest and rejuvenation come first. They come as a requirement for success and they don't come as a reward for being successful. That was an absolutely groundbreaking idea. So what if rest came first? What if rejuvenation came first, and it was a requirement for me to succeed and not something that I got as a reward for being successful? And they were the ones who said, Listen, you're going to spend more time fixing mistakes that you made while you're tired, which is, of course going to cause you to make more mistakes. And then you're trying to fix the mistakes that you made while you're tired fixing the mistakes that you made while you're tired, and that whole big spiral happens. And that's how you only end up taking 13 days off per year. Because ultimately, like for me, I was spending so much time putting out fires that I wasn't able to actually advance the business. And so they said, Well, we recommend that you take 180 days off half the year, you should take off. Now for reference, the average employee in the United States with I believe that the number was four weeks of vacation, and a week or two of sick leave, takes off about 130 to 140 days per year. So I took off 130 days the next year, my profitability quadrupled. And the reason why was because we were able to move the business forward farther faster. So instead of trying not to move the business backwards instead of putting out fires that we cause when we were tired, and we were working on stuff that we shouldn't have been working on, because we were tired, but you know, the business was struggling and we were trying to grow this thing. And Mark Cuban worked every day for seven years. And Bill Gates worked every day for however many years, right, and you're kind of buying into this hustle culture. While we were doing all of that we were starting so many new fires, we were creating so many problems. Sometimes we'd create problems, just that we would have something to do to solve them. So we could feel like that we were making progress in our business. But in reality, we weren't actually moving the needle that much. And so I started to take time off. I took the Strategic Coach advice, I thought while I'm paying you everything that I got, so I might as well take the advice and if it doesn't work, I know and I can get back to where I was beforehand. I take the advice our profitability quadruples, while the amount of time that I take off in a year increases by a factor of 10 now this year, I'm working my way back up to get to about 130 free days because I kind of veered away from it in the beginning of the year. But ultimately, what I'm so excited to talk about is this idea that Strategic Coach had and I'm not stealing it from other people have it to that is that rest and rejuvenation come first. And I think for struggling entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, like myself for the first four years, really, it was free days that allowed me to be able to see the forest from the trees, it was taking time away, that allowed me to really see what was important and I could stop projects that weren't important. I could kind of separate myself from collaborators and from team members that weren't moving the needle, but I wasn't able to see it when I wasn't taking time off and I was able to enjoy life quite a bit more on top of that I was just simply happier. It is nice to be able to sleep in on a Saturday morning every once in a while. It's nice to be able to carve out time to be able to exercise every single day. It's Nice to be able to know that you're making the right decision because you're well energized, you're well prepared for the day. And it's nice to know that the habits that I make now are sustainable as my company grows as my company grows, my company benefits from my not working every hour of every day my team tells me to go take free days sometimes because I might seem too tired. My assistant Tamra God lover, she absolutely screams at me sometimes when I don't take free days and I'm scheduled to and so on ultimately, as for entrepreneurs, the thing that I the question that I posed to you as an entrepreneur, is, are you taking enough time away from the business to be able to think clearly about the business? Are you taking enough time and rejuvenating enough to be able to make the right decision the first time are you taking enough time to quite simply be happy