Ep. 137 – AJ Lawrence: Deliberate Millions

You create your own ‘luck’ by the consistency of the person that you bring to everything you touch.” AJ Lawrence

About Our Guest:
A.J. Lawrence is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, an angel investor, growth expert, and host of the Beyond 8 Figures podcast. With over 25 years of exceptional experience in industries ranging from consumer goods to SaaS, he uses data-driven insights to nurture lasting and sustainable growth for his clients. He calls himself a “journeyman entrepreneur” because he finds great joy in learning from people who achieved more than he did and finding ways to use their insights for his own business ventures. 

Episode Summary:

This episode is powered by God Girls Making Millions

If you are a millions-minded entrepreneur, being deliberate is essential in this season of your business. According to my guest, A.J. Lawrence, being deliberate means having a clear direction, focus and intention for one’s entrepreneurial journey while weighing the costs associated with being what you want to see in the world.  Being deliberate is a way of living so that the best part of who you are is what shows up in everything you touch.  It’s time to focus on being intentional about what matters most and leveraging that all the way to the million-dollar mark.  If you are ready to understand what it takes to be deliberate as you move your business to millions, grab your pen and paper and listen in to discover:

  • The exact process you’ll need to learn and leverage to grow your company deliberately
  • How to master the power of choice as a leader
  • The #1 thing you must shift to have your first million-dollar year
  • And so much more

Powerful A.J. quotes from the episode:

  • “If it resonates with you, steal it and make it your own.”
  • “Any great athlete isn’t great at first.”
  • “Mission driven companies outperform other companies.”
  • “I’ve beaten myself up for ‘success’ only to learn it’s not really success.”
  • “It’s easy to chase.”

Last Book A.J. Read: 100 Years of Solitude

Favorite Quote: “Being true to yourself is always the right path to take.”  

Tool A.J. Swears By: Notion

How to Connect with A.J.:

Incredible One Enterprises, LLC is not responsible for the content and information delivered during the podcast interview by any guest. As always, we suggest that you conduct your own due diligence regarding any proclamations by podcast guests.  Incredible One Enterprises, LLC is providing the podcast for informational purposes only.

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AJ Lawrence: Deliberate Millions

This episode is powered by God Girls Making Millions. If you are a woman on the move or making millions, and you’re looking for a new room that will serve and support you to and beyond your next level, this is it. Apply at God Girls Making Millions. I’m so excited to share this episode with you. I need you to clear your mind and your palette. I want you to take three deep breaths in, stand up and turn around to shift the atmosphere around you so that you can take in everything that you’re about to learn from AJ Lawrence. This conversation blew my mind.

First and foremost, AJ is the bomb because he runs a podcast called Beyond 8 Figures, not seven figures. We hear at the show about the move to seven figures. AJ is talking, thinking, acting, and making decisions deliberately beyond eight figures. He had run many multiple 7-figure companies and had many multiple 7-figure exits. He’s the man you want to learn from.

When I say the difference between your vantage point and vision point, AJ Lawrence is who should come to your mind. You are in for a treat. Thank yourself. Thank God that you decided to stop what you were doing and get your hands on this episode. Your whole life is about to change.

AJ Lawrence is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, an Angel investor, growth expert and the host of the Beyond 8 Figures Podcast with many years of exceptional experience in industries ranging from consumer goods to SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service. He uses data-driven insights to nurture lasting and sustainable growth for his clients. He calls himself a journeyman entrepreneur because he finds great joy in learning from people who achieved more than he did and finding ways to use their insights for his business ventures.

This conversation was so rich. Your income and net worth are about to go up from reading this episode. You all know me. I’m not about to steal the thunder of everything powerful that AJ said every time he made me want to smack him because he said something that was so stinking good but there was one quote that I needed to share with you before you even read this episode.

He said, “There is a point where the fear of the day-to-day survival disappears and then you know that you are ready to grow.” I hope that grabbed you as it grabbed me the first time I heard it. I want you to clear your palette. Take three more deep breaths, stand up one more time, turn around twice this time, and shift your atmosphere so that you will be open to absorb everything that AJ Lawrence has to share with you. Grab that pen and paper. Let’s jump into my conversation with AJ Lawrence.

AJ Lawrence, I am so excited to welcome you to the show. How are you?

I am great. Thank you so much for having me on. I’ve been a big fan and have been following your show. I’m excited to get a chance to talk with you here.

I’ve been looking forward to this conversation because similarly, I’ve been checking you out. I love what you’re up to and what you’re talking about. Our audience is going to get so many powerful nuggets to stretch beyond even what I’m capable of doing for them on this show by having you here. Why don’t you take a moment before we jump in and tell everybody who you are in your own words?

I’ll start simple. My name is AJ Lawrence. I’m a repeat entrepreneur. A little over a year ago, I bought the podcast, Beyond8Figures.com. Come check us out. On the show, every week, we interview entrepreneurs from around the world who’ve had success learning about the things they do to improve their ability to be an entrepreneur. We focus on the idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur, how we can make choices and be very deliberate about the practices we take to improve our entrepreneurism.

I’m someone who’s been around. I’ve gotten very lucky. I’ve sold some businesses in the low to mid-seven figure range. In my experience, I made so many mistakes in my journey. I kept thinking a lot about where my successes were in hindsight at the moment they felt like failures because they weren’t what I was trying to achieve. They were much lower. All of a sudden, you turn around and you’re like, “Get that little fiddle out.” I can stop playing it because I got very lucky.

What I’ve been trying to do is interview the entrepreneurs to see, “What are the choices they make? How did they make choices and actions that led them to go deeper into the efforts that allowed them to grow? Is it luck? Is it effort?” It tends to be a combination of many things but it does seem that lovely. You create your luck by more consistency and effort you bring to bear intelligently.

You create your own luck with the more consistency and effort you bring to bear intelligently.

You said a couple of things I was taking notes that I want to pull on but I agree with you. That luck and I forget what the roaming definition is but it is where something meets opportunity. I do think that there is a measure of “luck” that’s a part of it. There’s also this concept of favor of recognizing that when you make a decision to live into your gifting and leverage your purpose in the work that you do, the outcome is different.

Some people call that luck. I might call it a favor but it’s an interesting construct. I love when you said, “I made a lot of mistakes on the journey. At first, those mistakes felt like failures but then I realized that they weren’t failures. I say all the time that failure is feedback. If it doesn’t kill you, you have an opportunity to regroup from it.” I love that you recognize that in your intro about who you are. The one question I want to ask you though is this. We ask all of the people we interview what it means to be an entrepreneur so I would like to know from AJ’s perspective, what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

For me, a lot of it is evolving and changing. Early on, it was in a form of necessity. I used to joke about the first business I created. This is dating myself to the early ‘90s. I had maxed out the amount for version edits I had saved on a word document from my resume. This is going way back. It was like, “You cannot save this. You must start another one,” or whatever the edit thing was like.

I didn’t even know that was a thing.

It was somewhere. Not that I applied for that many jobs, but I had saved different versions so many times or whatever I had done to max out. It may have been the word perfect or star. There were all those crazy ones. Long story short, I wasn’t very good at getting jobs, so I started a company.

Early on, doing my thing was the means to survive, find work, create work for myself and get paid to do things. Over time, I slowly improved/got worse. I got better at some of the basics. I wanted to go even further in my journey so I took on more complex things and then failed at them. Over time, I got a little bit better at those and kept going. I look at entrepreneurism as the means that I use to create what I want to have existed in the world.

Entrepreneurship is the means to create what you want to exist in this world.

For me, a lot of that is the ability to provide for my family. That’s been my main thing also for my means. I’m very interested because you talk a lot about this in your show. It’s my means of giving back. I love exploring and finding new not-for-profits around the world that are doing great things. I’ve been on boards of not-for-profits and stuff. I’ve had luck and worked hard but the reality is you can work hard without luck.

I’ve had this so I can use it more as an exploration and that gets me then to this deliberate practice with Beyond 8 Figures. I’m so fascinated by entrepreneurism. I’m still working on new ideas and companies going down the complete rabbit hole with acquisition entrepreneurship. That is such a fun little space. In general, it’s this idea that I’m looking at this as a way of living and how we can improve this overall. How can we use what being an entrepreneur gives us as we create the world we want to see, our lives and around us?

I subscribe too and share the same definition. That’s what entrepreneurship is for me. It’s the vehicle to create wealth and leave a legacy. Understanding that, early on, gives us so much power because if we’re thinking about our businesses through the lens of how we want to live, the house, the car, the education for our children, the vacations, the causes we want to support and give to, hopefully, that will give us enough confidence to charge at a rate that brings those things into view for us much faster than having to go down the hustle and grind rabbit hole.

It’s amazing when people understand that. Even you said, “I started my first business out of necessity. I couldn’t get a good job so I decided to start my company.” Through this process, the evolution has become, “I get to use this powerful tool and amazing creation that has been here since the foundations of the earth to set up a trajectory of how I want to live and the legacy that I want to give to my kids and the causes that matter to me.” That is so awesome.

We have been sitting here, AJ and I talking about what entrepreneurship means to us, which is awesome that we share the same definition. I want to get into this construct of deliberate entrepreneurship. If you’ll, first, define it for everyone and then I have a couple of questions I want to ask you around that.

There’s the fun part of that and I’m going to use too many words for a simple thing. To me, deliberate entrepreneurism is not the structure but the principles of ongoing practice on those things that are important to my ability to be an entrepreneur. As we talked about creating those things, it’s understanding what are the goals I have. How can I impact those goals? What can I do to achieve them? How do I measure progress towards that? Breaking it down to, “What can I do to get better at doing this?”

I look at it a little bit differently. We’re all very familiar with the KPIs of running a business. It’s very important. You can have different OKRs and there are 1,001 but it’s the very basic concept of owning a business. If you think about yourself as an entrepreneur, you also have certain things that are very important like the success of your vehicle. I like that term. I usually say tool but vehicle is sexier. You play with that. You have your ability to bring focus and your capabilities to bring to bear.

One of the things I realized is in my last company, the one I sold in the mid-sevens, I had gotten very egotistical about our growth because we had been doubling for a few years. It was a digital agency. I started having the big holding companies circling, doing all the stuff and saying, “We’ll give you a gazillion.” I was like, “$10 million or nothing.”

What had happened was I focused so much on achieving the wrong type of goal in hindsight. There were other things. I had an infrastructure for a $2 million company when I was passing $7.5 million in business. It’s all the things you do when you think you’re all about growth. Most importantly, what I realized was I wasn’t paying attention to myself, let alone my personal relationship.

I gained weight. I was drinking way too much. My sleep dropped down to about four hours a day. I need sleep. I’ll stay asleep for a few days if I can on the weekends. I was doing all the things I shouldn’t do and then wondering as I’m getting older, “I used to be able to do this all the time.” Everything kept piling up.

I look at this as being deliberate in focusing on those things that are going to allow me to be a better entrepreneur. I’m consistently building out what is important to my abilities. What can I do? What will have the biggest impact, adjusting it and then tracking and measuring over a long period? Some of it is very much financial.

I always love how they argue like, “It’s $70,000, $200,000, $500,000 or $20.2 billion.” There is a certain point where all of a sudden, the fear of day-to-day survival disappears and you move up the hierarchy of needs. All of a sudden, you are looking more at tools. This is where many entrepreneurs have so much difficulty and I’m one of them.

I’m great at making money, using that money, saving it and developing it into stronger tools. That’s something that I work on a lot and I know many other entrepreneurs. It’s looking at these things like, “What are other pieces?” My understanding of things and network, all these things come and you bring to bear what’s going to be the most important for both of your short, medium and long-term.

What is the practice that you utilize to be able to strip that down and break it into most important for short-term, medium range and long-term? How do you do that? Our readers would benefit from knowing having multiple businesses that you have made and sold for seven figures and on this construct of living your best life and recognizing when you weren’t.

I always say, “You can’t have a booming business when you have a busted life.” That construct but to be in a place where you are very deliberate and spending this time to think and process, and I was trying not to use the word deliberate but I can’t, to deliberately show up every single day so that you’re giving your best to yourself, family, companies, community and the causes that are important to you. What does that process look like?

First off, it’s not that I am very deliberate. That is something I’m working on, becoming more deliberate. This is one of the things I realized very quickly. I am a swing for the fence. I enjoy winging it. It’s fun. I like being that person yet getting back, it decreases our lock opportunity and increases our risk opportunity.

For me, some of the things I do work on are very similar to what you talked about like the basics of improving a business. I spend a lot of time consistently figuring out what are my KPIs. I sometimes do OKRs and then come back to KPIs. I sometimes will switch back and forth. I don’t think the actual structure matters. It’s using the structure and looking at it.

I look at what things are going to be important like my health, ability to bring to bear and financial structures. I look at them and think, “Based on these goals I’m setting, what’s going to help me the most to move forward?” I’m looking at it broadly once a year, once a quarter or monthly. Weekly is the more course correction where I’m going, “I said I’m going to do 10 introductions to the podcast but I only did 1,” or other things. I have the daily attempt to do that stand up and effort.

It’s being present in what I am doing. It’s very easy to chase and go, “This is cool. I’m going to do this,” whatever comes to mind or whatever’s interesting. For me, being deliberate is going consistently back to my goals. These are the things I’ve set for myself and I want to achieve. Maybe I fall off but then I’ll come back to it. It’s being consistent and okay with changing my goals when I realized, “All the time, I want to spend with my kids. Now that they’re teenagers, they want me around but they’re not present. You guys are not cool to hang out and doing stuff. You don’t want me around.”

What I love about all of that is even as you were talking about KPIs and OKRs, your health is one of your KPIs. I wanted to pull on that because, on the climb to seven figures, many people lose themselves. That’s what happened to me. I was chasing the number. It was all about the number. I felt like the number was going to be my validation. It was going to mean that I mattered all of a sudden.

What I realized in the process is that when I did finally hit the number, I was miserable. I say all the time, “It was everything big or small that said what it was going to be. It was more money but it was more problems because I didn’t have a KPI about my life, lifestyle and alignment.” For those of you who are reading who have this firm goal but you’re like, “No, I’m going to make millions,” it’s great. I support and celebrate you in that.

As you set the goals for the numbers to hit millions, make sure you’re also setting goals for your health and wellness. The worst thing ever is to get there but can’t enjoy it because you’re fat, you got diabetes, you need to be bed bound or whatever the other things. I’m purposely trying to paint the ugliest story possible to stress to you the importance of making sure that you think about that along the way.

Sleep is important. I’m like you, AJ. I need 8 or 9 hours if we’re nasty. I got to have lots of sleep and it’s non-negotiable. When I don’t get it, it’s not a good idea to spend time around me. I had to prioritize that over and above some of the other things that could potentially happen because that’s something that fuels me.

I love this thought of making sure that as you’re setting these goals, it’s the deliberateness of making sure that they’re holistic and not just about the business. Nobody wants to be a one-trick pony. We want to have businesses that serve us but also be there for our families, creating memories, seeing the world and all of those types of things. That is so important that you brought that in.

I also loved how you, in broad strokes, look at your goals once a year, once a quarter, once a month, a weekly course correction and then a daily attempt to do your best on that day. The other thing that I heard in between what you said that I loved is that you give yourself permission to not always get it right. There’s an element of grace that I feel like I hear that you offer to yourself. Maybe that wasn’t always the case but I feel like you give yourself some grace that you might not always give it right but making that attempt.

As I joke, I’ve beat myself up for what would be considered a success but wasn’t the success that I set myself over. Being lucky enough to interview amazing entrepreneurs like you do, what I found is most of them have had. There are always those few who are like, “Can you trip, please? I don’t want you to get hurt.” Some of us struggle.

Otherwise, most entrepreneurs who are doing interesting things have fallen and gotten back up. They’re like, “What can I learn from this? What can I do?” I had this amazing coach, Jerry Colonna, who runs Reboot.org. He talks a lot about being true to who you are. This was years ago. The only thing that matters is incremental progress directionally correct. Forget anything else. I’m living in Europe for a little bit longer so I’ll say centimeters but otherwise inch for everyone in America. Go an inch. That’s it. Do that and you’re going to be in a better position than you were before.

There’s a lot of what I didn’t pay attention to at the time. I had to be arrogant and mess up to realize how important some of that is. Learning from others is okay. Making mistakes is not what you want to do because it sucks but usually, you do learn and figure out better ways of doing things with a better understanding of what is important.

A lot of times my mistakes are not about whether my tactical structure is right or not anymore. It’s more like, “Is that important to me?” This bright, shiny object was so amazing until I started playing with it. Then I was like, “This is not fun.” That’s something to learn, improve and incorporate the understanding of this is who I am. As I go on and try to be more deliberate and be a better entrepreneur, let me incorporate that into doing what I’m trying to do.

I love what your mentor said, “Incremental progress directionally correct.” It’s similar to what I feel you’ve learned over the years and have done this work. Sometimes it’s not the giant leap but it’s making that deliberate attempt every single day to become a little bit better. I remember hearing a TED Talk once that talked about the 1%. If we could make consistent 1% shifts, we’d be better off than trying to make some massive 100% leap. It’s that same premise.

I hope you are enjoying this conversation that I am having with AJ Lawrence. It’s been amazing for me because I’ve realized that the more we think we’re different, we’re the same. I love the beauty of living life, expressing it through entrepreneurship and identifying those opportunities within yourself to focus on being a better person so you can also make the planet a better place. That’s been the beauty of what we’ve been talking about so far, AJ.

When we were talking before we started the interview, you said something that I thought was powerful. It was the first thing I wrote down. You talked about when you’re interviewing the guests on your podcast, Beyond 8 Figures, that you identify through these conversations that there are patterns of choice and patterns of effort. I would love for you to talk about that a little bit and share some insight into what you’ve learned from identifying some of these patterns that you see all of these amazing entrepreneurs that you get to speak with are making inside of their lives and careers.

This pushed me to think a little bit more about deliberate practice and deliberate entrepreneurs. I’ve spent a lot of money with my different companies over the years trying to create missions. It’s when you bring in the positioning consultant and you do a mission statement and all this stuff. It always felt like we would always take 10% of our revenue to them and do pro bono work with not-for-profits.

We sponsored different things. I did an underground cocktail party series where all the money was going to charities. It wasn’t just an excuse to drink. There was a good happening. We were doing all these things but there was nothing coherent about it other than trying to be good so I’d spend this money. When you talk with these consultants, there was always this little bit like, “You do this and then everything is great.” I was like, “It didn’t feel right.” It wasn’t.

I couldn’t sit there for one day or even the series of a month of talking with these consultants that ever create something that felt holistic, real and living for what we were trying to do. Over time, we did come up with, “We are engaging and tactical but we integrate strategically with tactical capabilities. We’re data-driven.” We did all these things that became us but it never came out of that effort.

I always felt I couldn’t understand the mission. The more I would hear people saying, “You got to have a mission or do this,” I was like, “Mission-driven. That’s marketing.” I’m a marketer so that’s baloney. Talking with a few people like Kara Goldin of Hint, the Founder of We Are Rosie and a few others, led me to rethink and talk about this incremental and ongoing practice. I realized that they didn’t start with these amazing missions. You know this in general when we talk about any athlete, artist or anyone. They’re not great at first.

With entrepreneurs, we hear stuff about how great someone is because of what they’re doing, not how great they are because of all the little stuff they did. To me, it was fascinating, especially Kara Goldin. All she did at first was make her thing of trying to become healthier. She was drinking all these bad diet sodas, wasn’t losing weight, beating herself up and all this. She was trying to make it real to herself that if she created this water with real ingredients added to it for flavor, she would be healthier. Just to get hurt. She then was like, “Some people are helping me do this,” rinse and repeat.

All of a sudden, she’s on Shark Tank and talking all over the place. That was incremental progress at its finest and it is about the mission. Being mission-driven isn’t the only way to create a business and increase our zone of opportunity for luck. Mission-driven companies do tend to outperform non-mission-driven but they have to be real. It’s that game. If you try and be mission-driven, you fail but if you become mission-driven and you do allow it, you’re not guaranteed anything but you’re probably going to be a little bit better off than if you don’t.

Mission-driven companies do tend to outperform non-mission-driven companies.

Sometimes the mission is thinking about Kara doing something that helps you. Sometimes, we’re so esoteric like, “I want to create world peace.” Maybe it’s not world peace you need to be focused on. You just need to be focused on peace within your home. As a result of that mission, it opens up an opportunity for you to serve other people. It’s like the old Zig Ziglar. If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.

We often help people get what they want by figuring out what they want. When I think about my company and the way that I do everything, the reason why excellence in customer service is so important to us is that it’s important to me and that’s what I would want. I created services that I would want to receive from the people that I’m hiring. As a result, my clients get to have these life-changing experiences and that’s a big part of our mission.

Even that is a pattern to explore and think about. You mentioned struggling with figuring out your mission. Maybe because we were trying to make it so big instead of bringing it in, making it about you, what was important to you first and then from that vantage point, expanding out. I don’t know. It’s the thought. I love what Kara said. That is a powerful pattern to understand and recognize.

That’s what is fun about looking at things and being incremental. It’s like, “I don’t have to do this tomorrow,” and then looking at what else is there. I created my first real company when I was 23. I’ve had a few swings at different things. With health, science and all that, I’ll probably have even a few more years. Even if things stay normal, I still have another fifteen-plus years from 2022. That’s a good amount of time.

If I can keep bringing to bear, even if I fail but I learn and slightly improve, this next opportunity, I may be that much more effective at bringing this opportunity to fruit. How can I learn? For me, it is to not feel so awkward and feel like I’m constantly making mistakes. Being an entrepreneur is pretty much feeling like you’re constantly making mistakes. That’s not the main definition. Every little thing is a basic success that happened but it is this ongoing thing like, “What can I do to make this not feel so strange?” Share that.

You’ve shared so many powerful things and even that last question that you ask yourself, “How can I learn?” Having the courage to ask yourself that question and sit and wait for the answer is so powerful. That was a big thing that changed for me because like most people, I had the fear of failure but then once I realized that failure is feedback, it’s an opportunity to course correct and go at it again. I wasn’t willing to stop.

The heavens didn’t open and I wasn’t raptured up because I made a mistake that caused the failure. As a result of that, I’m like, “I’m still here so that means not only do I get another attempt but there is even more powerful work for me to do here. What can I learn from this?” Be willing to sit with yourself, whether you’re a journaler or a meditator. If you like to sit for quiet contemplation or whatever it is, ask yourself consistently, “What did I learn from this thing?”

One of the things that are important that we do all of the time is every time we’re launching something new or introducing a new project or product, we always do a debrief after it. That’s one of the questions. “What did we learn from this? What is there still to learn? What could we do differently and better so that the next time we get some more of that incremental progress?’ Not being upset or alarmed if we don’t hit the target but instead, evaluating what we might need to do differently to further close that gap the next time that we show up for an opportunity to be able to present that to whomever we’re presenting it to.

It’s so powerful and deliberate to get back to the initial impetus of us having this conversation. The way that we think and the way we process is what creates our deliberate nature to produce a set of results that not only help us and allow us to live our best but also create an opportunity for the people whose lives we touch through our work to be able to do the same, which is amazing.

It’s fun. You say it 1,000 times better than me, so I was like, “This is so cool.” The thing that we work on that I’m trying to learn from all these entrepreneurs is there’s so much noise out there on what we should be doing, yet at the end of the day, it only matters what you should be doing. What works for you? What’s important?

This idea of hearing what other people have done, it’s not that you should copy them but you should listen to them and see what resonates with you. I jokingly say, “If it resonates, then steal it and make it your own.” At the end of the day, it’s still this idea of, “Focus on your direction, listen and see.” It used to be hard to find others. With The Wall Street Journal style before even the internet, you didn’t use to hear about entrepreneurs.

If you were anything but the classic style of entrepreneur, you were out on your own. There was no like, “I want to become like this person.” You didn’t know they existed. With your podcast and mine, find the people who are talking to people who are doing things that are similar or resonate with what you’re doing so then you can see what’s possible. Monkey see, monkey do is a powerful thing. I’m watching outside my window. My youngest is with our puppy so it’s pretty much a puppy doing whatever she’s doing. It popped into my mind.

This has been great, AJ. I have three questions I like to always ask to round out our time together. Before I do, if there’s anything else that we didn’t get to talk about around this construct of deliberate entrepreneurship or anything else that you want to be able to share, I want to give you the floor to be able to do so.

I very much will say something that should be said in 10 words with 5,000 words, but at the most basic, it’s finding what’s important to you and being very deliberate in coming back consistently to the understanding of what you are doing to improve and therefore get better. For whatever efforts, there is so much we can learn out there. Figure out and be consistent in that effort to improve.

You’ve been reading the show, so you know I always ask my three closing questions. I like to do it because in these conversations, sometimes we talk about business, sometimes we don’t, but I always like to ground it so that the readers are creating their professional library from amazing books that they can read that help them to do what it is that they need to do and they learn about tools that might be useful to them on their journey too and beyond the million-dollar mark. First, what are your favorite quotes?

“I am what I am.” It’s the Popeye version. It’s like a lot of things that seem funny and then resonate. You’re like, “That’s haha,” and then you’re like, “Wait, there’s a lot to it.” Being true to yourself is always the path.

What was the last book that you read?

I would usually have all my books behind me, but I am in the middle of packing. It’s funny. It’s not the last book I went back to, but the last book I finished because I reread One Hundred Years of Solitude. I try to go back to that book between 5 and 10 years. As I get older, I find that it resonates differently more so because it’s truly one of the great pieces of literature. For me, it’s understanding humans, the human condition, the period of how people interact under stress and all that that I tend to take more.

Sometimes, I’m sad. I’m reading some great classic thing and I’m like, “I could use that in my business.” I do that versus business books where sometimes there are 2 great things I am saying but I have 400 pages. I tend to focus more on history and literature. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the creation and death of this amazing family during a turbulent piece of time that maybe were looking at similar things 100 years ago. It’s fun for me. I like to look at that.

Lastly, what is one tool that you swear by that has been instrumental in you consistently making the move to millions and getting beyond eight figures?

It’s funny. I’ve been doing this since the ‘90s. I remember moving to email and having all my team communicate through email. Everyone is like, “Is that AOL?” I was like, “No.” For me, it’s a notion. I keep finding ways to make it deeper working both with my team and the partners I have. It’s like, “The deeper we go into this and the more we could share structure or even lose thoughts, the more we’re getting out of it.” It’s exploring what we can do with the notion.

This has been such an amazing conversation. I know that our readers are going to be so much more enriched as a result of exploring a lot of the things that we talked about that will help them to become more deliberate in their pursuit of being the best versions of themselves and building companies that serve them and also serve humanity. I want to thank you again for taking the time to come and hang out with me. This has been awesome.

Thank you. I love your show. From one podcast host to another, you are so smooth and flowing. You are very rich and caring in your interviewing style. I’ve been learning so much. When you’re interviewing me, I’m like, “I’ve got to do and try that.” Thank you so much for having me here.

You are very welcome. Thank you so much for being here.

Was I right or was I right? That was awesome. There are so many things I loved about the conversation. What you couldn’t see is AJ’s demeanor. He was so calm and relaxed. He had this energy of, “I’ve been through some things and I’ve learned some things. I’m in a position to share those things that I’ve learned with other people.” It’s so powerful. For me, being a business on the move to eight figures, to be able to sit with someone who has not only gotten there, but has also had so much wealth of experience for many years, I could lap up everything that AJ was saying. There were many moments that I loved this conversation.

The bottom line for me was his definition of entrepreneurship matches my definition of entrepreneurship. It is so important that you are clear about why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing. At the end of the day, all of this allows him to become a better person and entrepreneur. I want you to ask yourself if what you are doing is not making you better, why in the devil are you doing it?

I love his whole story. I love the focus on deliberate entrepreneurship, the definition being the principles of an ongoing practice that’s important to be an entrepreneur and the principles of ongoing practice. Doesn’t that sound familiar? You all know that I’m always talking about the principles and how we are leveraging the principles to experience what it is that we truly desire at the next level.

My round-out quote for our time together is, “Being true to yourself is always the path to being a deliberate human.” It’s about so much more than our businesses. It’s about how we can leverage our businesses to make this world a better place. This conversation with AJ brought all of that home for me.

If you want to make sure that you don’t miss one single solitary episode, do yourself a favor and subscribe wherever you get your show. If you are enjoying the conversation and if our guests and I are sharing things that make you think differently and make you evaluate your ability to go to the next level much faster than you have been able to do so on your own, please do us a favor and leave us a rating and/or a review.

I’m going to thank you in advance for helping us to get this powerful show further into the world. It is because of all of you that we are already followed and downloaded by so many people around the world. Thank you so much for reading, for helping me to do all that it is that I get to do, and for allowing me to be a deliberate entrepreneur. I’ll see you next time. Take care.


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