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In the episode:
02:43 – Social media versus behind the scenes
04:45 – Work and non-work sharing
06:05 – Both easier and harder
07:11 – Technology from a kid’s perspective
09:54 – A change in parenting policy
14:46 – A different sort of upbringing
16:19 – Predictions for the future
18:57 – An evolution in lifestyle
23:11 – Doing things for one’s self
26:03 – Who needs a billion-dollar business?
29:17 – The $10 million goal
31:19 – Does parents’ success affect kids?
36:41 – What excites Justin now
Design a business and lifestyle you love with help from James
For those who are hearing about Justin for the first time:
Justin Brooke is the founder of Adskills.com.
With a massive ad spend of over $10M under his belt for clients such as Dan Kennedy, he offers foundational and masterclass training courses for ad buyers, focusing mainly on online ads such as Goodle ads.
If you want to learn more about paid traffic, feel free to visit his website Adskills.com
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 692, and I’m here with Justin Brooke. Welcome back.
Justin: Oh, thanks for having me back, man.
James: Well, you’ve been back a few times now. You were on episode 282 talking about traffic, you were on episode 345 talking about traffic, and you were on episode 577 talking about algorithms.
And for today’s episode, 692, we’re going to be talking about the lifestyle that goes on behind running a traffic empire, a training company that you have, and see what it looks like, you know, when you get a little bit behind the scenes. I’m sure it’ll be fascinating for someone listening to this to know what life looks like, because you and I have known each other for quite some time now online, and I’m absolutely…
Justin: A long time.
James: Yeah. It’s great to have such a great friendship, to have crossed paths many times in our journey, with lots of mutual friends in common. We agree on lots of things. We have some peripheral things on the side, probably slight differences. You’re interested in a couple of things that I’m not, and I’m interested in a few things that you’re not, which is what makes it, you know, a great Venn diagram at the end of the day.
James: But the stuff in the middle there, you know, this is fascinating. We’ve both got kids, we’re both entrepreneurs, we’ve both been online for over a decade. And you’re really experimenting with the way you’re living your life in a more of a counter-cyclical way to the typical American dream. So I’d love you to talk about that and how you deal with that, as a parent, and what’s going on with your kids. And I’ve met your kids, we’ve all been surfing, and they’re great kids. Really lovely that they come traveling with you and enjoy the world landscape. And I think this will be a really interesting discussion.
Justin: Absolutely. I can’t wait. This is going to be a good one. I know there’s a lot of my followers who have always wondered, like, what’s it really like? Like outside of the Facebook posts and outside of the email list and the blog, like, what’s it really like behind the scenes?
Social media versus behind the scenes
James: When it comes to social media, do you have a policy on that of how much you are prepared to share, and does the social media Justin we see match the behind-the-scenes Justin or is there a differential?
Justin: The closest you could get to seeing the real Justin is probably the last 20 to 30 posts on my Instagram @zenzillah. You know, even the screen name there, that’s my gamer name, something I don’t usually share with the internet marketing scene. I quit social media a while ago. I was going to quit for a whole year; I only made it eight months before I came back. And the reason I came back is I just felt like, this is a little vain, but I felt like, if the good guys leave, that’s not fair to the people, you know? And I wanted to treat it differently. So prior, I treated social media probably like everybody else – shared my rants, my lunches, my tips, you know, everything, just any top of mind thought. I realized, you know, I didn’t want the toxicity, I didn’t want the amount of time I was spending into it. So I treat it like an email list now. So no, I don’t really share a lot of my life. Sometimes I share some pictures of my kids, sometimes I share pictures of our travels. But for the most part, I treat it like my email list and I keep my posts very on topic to things I know that my market is interested in.
James: Interesting. I’ve seen a few people have detox or go off social or leave it all together. John Reese is one that comes to mind, who went off. And I’ve always wondered if people need to announce it or not. Or if they would just go. Like, I don’t use social media very heavily. But I don’t feel compelled to talk about it that much, because the more people say, oh, I’m going to leave social media or whatever, it seems more like they want attention. Whereas it would be great if you just disappear quietly, and people sort of start noticing, like, Hey, where are you? Then that means there was some value contributed, and you’d be perfectly within your validation to accept, you know, social media was better for some other people because you were contributing.
Work and non-work sharing
And I wonder, do you delineate much between work and non-work stuff? Like for example, you have a business page or a private account that you treat differently? Or do you just lump it all in together?
Justin: All in together. Pretty much all of my social media is business. If I want to talk to my family, I pick up the phone, I text them. You know, we have some Facebook groups, family kind of Facebook groups. Same goes with my high school friends, you know, we’re texting all the time, we get on the phone. If they do contact me on Facebook, I just, just call me man, you know. And so I keep a lot of my personal life off of social media. I show enough, you know, because I know that my fans are interested in, they want to know, and I know it’s important to sort of show a little bit of yourself so they understand who you really are and know, like and trust you, things like that. But for the most part, I lump it all in because it’s all business to me on social media.
James: Right. So if there was no business purpose, you probably wouldn’t be using social media?
Justin: Absolutely. I’m going to use your tip next time, if there is a next time, because I’m not announcing anything.
James: Good one. It’s pretty organic.
I know there’s a lot I could do for my personal feed to make it all business-ey. But I’m a bit like you, I think there’s stuff you want to share or not. It’s also hard recently having had a baby – it’s almost impossible not to want to share some pictures for all the people who are asking about it. It forced a whole range of questions whether I wanted to go down that path or not.
Both easier and harder
Because the thing is, with my newest baby, life is very different than when I had my first baby in terms of social media. When I had my first baby, that’s when I had my first computer. We’re talking about 1996; like, the internet was brand new. In Australia, especially, I was like, dial up and I’d have to wait half an hour for a page to load with a picture of a car. And that computer was in the same room as his little cot. And then I went off the computer for many years and then started back again in 2005. It’s probably around about the same time you were coming online as well. Early days for us.
James: And then it’s like transformed a lot over the last 14 years, hasn’t it, from when we started. It was hard to put a website up and really hard to put video or audio, even to get paid. So merchant accounts and all these things were difficult. These days, you’re up and running today, if you want. You know, it’s like, very different.
Justin: Yeah. It’s both easier, because getting started is so easy today compared to what it used to be. However, that actually makes it a little harder, because it’s so easy for everyone to do it.
James: Yeah, there’s a lot more competition.
Technology from a kid’s perspective
And the other thing is from the kids’ perspective. You know, when I was a kid, we didn’t have mobile phones. We were out riding BMX bikes, and playing basketball in the streets and that sort of stuff. It was a different time in the 80s. And then, of course with my kids, they started to get phones as they were a bit older. These days, there’s kids in China getting iPads when they’re born, and they’re blind by the time they’re two. Like, they’re having a major problem with device time.
The health recommendation, of course, is zero screen time until you’re at least two. But I’ve seen a lot of these kids, especially when I take flights these days, you tend to sit in the row where the other kids are, the other babies. But I see tiny kids with their own devices and like, glued to the thing, and I think, that’s really scary. And my baby’s like a heat-seeking missile to any device. She will crawl for it, go for it, and we have to really shield her from being able to watch it.
So my other kids who are a little bit older now, the youngest one of that first batch has had devices for quite some time, but computer use has become a real challenge. And also with him, you know, I was working from home, probably from the time he was five or six. So for most of his life, I’d do different things to other dads. And you know, I’m just hanging out at home in board shorts, playing on my computer a little bit, we’d go to the cafe or the beach or the shops. It’s, you know, I’m not suiting up in my tie, driving off to work like I did with the first kids.
So, very different world to come up as a child than what it was a few decades ago. And I’m starting to see the impact of that. I used to think it was cool and okay for them to spend plenty of time on the computer and to have an advantage over their peers. But now I’m seeing you can have too much time. I’ve had to install cut-off devices now. We switch our modems off every single night, midnight till 7am, on an electric timer.
James: And that’s helped a little bit. But we’re, you know, really having to navigate new territory. And I’m wondering, how’s that going with your kids at the ages they’re at and and seeing what you do, and your policies around usage?
Justin: We have very similar stories, you know, I probably could say a lot of exactly the same that you said. You know, my son, he was around at a time before I was in the, you know, I’ve been doing this 15 years and he’s 16 years old. So he saw me at the very, very early days where my daughter, you know, she grew up on organic food and living in hotels, she learned how to swim in Bali, you know, I mean, you know, she’s gone surfing in their Bingin Beach and you know, it’s been a whole thing. So yeah, very similar thing.
A change in parenting policy
And we’ve kind of come to the same conclusion. I’ve been very tech adamant, and I gotta eat my own words. I really wanted to prove to the world that they could, that it was good, and they could have a lot of tech access. And I’ve just been proven wrong. You know, it’s hard for adults to get over the addiction that some of these products, these Facebooks, these TikTok. Now, you know, I was on TikTok for one day, and I immediately told my wife, I was like, this is the most addictive thing I’ve ever seen, like I’ve got to literally give myself a time limit using it. And to try and think of a kid being able to do that, like it would be hard at 16, impossible at below 10, 12 years. You know, they just don’t have the control yet.
And so yeah, we’re now starting to do those same type of rules where, you know, they can’t use it in the morning, they got to get their reading done first. And reading has to be done off of a screen instead of on, like, an iPad or something. Yeah, we’re starting to implement a lot of the same things. And we need to get even tighter with it, because they just can’t control it. Kids can’t control it. Adults can’t control it. Look, there’s so many adults right now just massively addicted to Instagram and Facebook, and they just can’t get off of it. And so how can we expect kids to control themselves?
James: Yeah. I’m watching how much my daughter observes what I do, and then she’ll copy. So if your parent’s always on a device, the kid’s going to want to be on a device. It just makes sense. And I agree with you. I’ve had to change my position on how much technology is good for kids, having seen where we’ve gone too far with one of them.
“You can poison yourself with healthy things.”
Justin: I do believe it’s massively good. However, it has to be controlled just like anything else, you know? I mean, you can literally poison yourself with water; you can poison yourself with healthy things. And so I do believe the same thing with tech. I believe tech is massively good. I believe we really need to be pushing our kids to learn how to use them and learn how to use them properly, not just for surfing, TikTok and YouTube and you know, whatever. However, it does need to be controlled, like anything else in life.
James: The best podcast I’ve done on that topic was with Nir Eyal, the author of Indistractable.
James: It was such a great lesson for me to understand, you know, the same guy who wrote the book Hooked, of course,
Justin: That’s what I thought. I was like, wait a minute, so he taught us how to get them hooked, now he’s teaching us how to get off it. That’s funny.
James: Exactly. He’s teaching you how they do it, and he’s teaching you how to prevent it. He was basically, his whole premise is that technology isn’t the enemy, it’s down to the user. And for that reason, there’s no way I’m going to go into platforms like, TikTok. That’s the last place I’m going to find myself. I’m trying to limit the platforms I’m already on because I think it’s healthy to have a time outside of it.
Thankfully for me, I’ve got surfing. There’s that part of my day, every single day, where my device is stuck into a cupboard or drawer, and I’m off, I’m out, walking down to the beach with no tech, doing my analogue thing, time to think, time to digest. And also reining in my work week significantly has given me that mental space to be able to deal with it. But I do see a lot of overloaded, manic adults who aren’t in control of it.
It really does flow through the kids. The other thing I’m noticing with children, they tend to pick up the tendencies of the parent – if the parent’s stressed and anxious and concerned, the kid’s going to be a reflection of that and crying and sooky and difficult. So I’m raising a bit of a chill baby at the moment, and I hope it stays the same. Do you find your kids have taken on some of the stress or anxiety of your entrepreneurial journey, as you’ve had a few little ups and downs along the way?
Justin: Recently with my son, because I’ve started cutting him off on on some of the money things, and so he’s starting to feel the pressure, financial pressure of doing something and getting his butt in gear and you know, setting alarms and things like that.
My daughter, not even a bit. You know, she loves it, she craves it. She’s such a creative. I mean, she’s eight, and she’s great at photography, and she just, you know, picked up exactly how to start using Instagram. And it’s just been part of her life, you know? So she just gets it. She’s watched the YouTubers since she was four. So she just understands how to, you turn on the camera, and she knows exactly what to say. And she knows how to end the video and things like that. She’s just grown in it, so she knows it. And she craves it; she really wants to produce and make and create, where my son, and also, you know, he was born in a different time. So maybe that’s where it comes from, but he likes to get outside, to go out to eat. I have to really, really try to get him to like, do work on a computer, to use it for anything other than entertainment.
A different sort of upbringing
James: Right. And do you feel that they think they’re different to their peers? You know, I suppose you’re not doing the traditional school thing, right? So maybe they don’t have traditional peers?
Justin: Yeah. It always gets weird when somebody asks what grade they’re in. And they have to like, kind of look up, and even myself, you know, we all look at Chaunna, like, what grade are they in? And then that weirds out other kids.
James: I’m impressed you know how old they are. That’s a good start. I’m not gonna ask you what day of the week it is. Don’t worry.
Justin: Yeah. All right, good. Thanks.
So, yeah, that gets weird. But then it also is, you know, their schedules are so different. You know, they don’t have to just wake up and go right to school. Well, I mean they have to read for 30 minutes every morning. First thing, you know, their morning routine is get up, brush your teeth, brush your hair, eat breakfast, read. That’s their morning routine. And then, you know, because we do unschooling, school kind of happens throughout the day, throughout our life. And so it’s very, you know, whatever the school conversation comes up between kids. Otherwise, they’re just out on the playground, and nobody brings up school out on the playground until somebody says, What grade are you in? And then it gets weird.
James: Right. I’ve found, here, there are some options for online learning, for school, where they can also go into a sort of a shared class for people who just don’t fit into the regular school system. And they can actually do it at their own pace and choose their own subjects. And they can do it technically much quicker, maybe even a half or one day a week. So they don’t have to do the old nine-to-three, five-day-a-week school thing if that’s not their jam.
Justin: Yeah. One year, my 16-year-old son, he finished the entire year in seven months.
Justin: Yeah, he got a huge five-month-long summer. He loved it.
Predictions for the future
James: So I think we might be seeing a shift in the education system, primarily because a lot of the jobs that they’re being tuned for won’t exist in 10 years from now. That will be really interesting to watch, and I’m conscious of it, having a new baby come through the system. You know, what’s life going to be like when she’s 20? It’s going to be very different landscape than it is now. Like, we would look back on a podcast like this and think, gosh, if we only knew. Where do you think things are going to change for your kids, like if your eight-year-old’s going to be 18, what’s going to change in 10 years from now?
Justin: I think VR is going to be so much bigger than we all think it’s going to be. I think we’re going to spend a lot of time in VR. I think a lot of our relationships are going to happen in VR. I could be wrong. In some ways, I kind of hope I’m wrong. But I think that that’s kind of where we’re going, VR, AR. You know, I’ve already had times when I’ve been laying in a hotel room, I’m like, man, I wish I could kind of just scroll my TV up on the wall and kind of, you know, zoom in and out instead of having this hard piece of plastic that I can’t move anywhere I want it to move.
So I think I think that’s going to be a big thing for our kids, they’ll kind of live in this technology world a lot more, and they’ll spend the minority of their time actually going out into the world doing things. Because things will just get shipped to them. They’ll have 3D printers printing things out for them. The 3D printing technology is getting so good now that they can actually use food products, metals, plastic, rubbers. So with all the delivery things, the 3D printing, VR, instant cash transactions… You know, you’re in Australia, I’m in Tennessee, and we can do face-to-face meetings. So I think a lot of that is going to progress big. You know, I think we’re going to come into this 5G internet speeds, graphene is going to become a more popular product, and battery life is going to become a bigger thing. So the internet speeds are going to become faster, the battery life is going to become longer, and it’s going to be rapid charging, and just going to be always on, always connected. I think the internet is going to kind of fall into the background, and you’re just always on it, always connected to everything.
“The internet is going to kind of fall into the background, and you’re just always on it, always connected to everything.”
James: Well, I can’t wait till I can ditch a keyboard. It still blows my mind that that is the way. Because I still can’t type fast. Luckily, you know, podcasts, it’s a bit of a cheat. But it just blows my mind, we’ve still got this stupid keyboard and mouse and screen. It’s like, when can we have Minority Report at least? So that will be welcome.
And I think, you know, a lot of cars will be driving themselves in lots of places by then.
James: We may not own as many things. So preparing kids for that’s quite an interesting one.
An evolution in lifestyle
What sort of challenges have you had when it comes to living situation? Because I remember seeing at various stages, you had this contrast between living in a large home to then being on the road? And I’m interested in what drove those decisions and what surprises you had along the way?
Justin: Yeah. So, it was not me. It was not my true self, when I had the big house and the jet ski, and just everything, the truck. I was accumulating everything I thought I was supposed to accumulate based on like, who I thought my role models were. You know, I kind of lost myself. And that was a little bit about what my leaving social media was about, what my leaving the United States was about. I just didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know what I actually wanted. And I had to leave everything for a little while to kind of find myself.
And, you know, with all this social media, and not even just social media, but media – people think of media as only the news. But it’s the movies, it’s the commercials, it’s the podcast, it’s social media, it’s like, everybody’s telling you who you should be and how you should be doing it. And I lost those things. And so that’s why I left it all and who I truly am. I don’t need much. And that’s why I probably could be making a whole lot more money than I do. But I’m just really not money-motivated.
You know, a good story, a good example is I had a client and we were crushing it with lead gen. My biggest lead gen victory’s, to date, I got up to 17,000 leads in one day, and we were doing 12,000, 14,000 leads every day for months on end, just crushing it. And I wanted to go farther, but they wanted to rein it in, they wanted to pull it back. They wanted to only be between 12 and 15 because that’s sustainable, it’s good numbers. And so I just left, you know, a good paying client behind because I knew I could do 50,000 leads a day. And so for me, it’s about the achievement. It’s about the milestones. It’s about mastery. And so that’s what I’m really all about. And so that’s why I live pretty small. I live out of a suitcase, a suitcase and a backpack. I prefer to be video gaming, I prefer to be, you know, doing art. I’m really like, most people don’t know, I’m super into anything creative – art, photography, toys, markers, I would rather be in an art studio all day long making things than doing a lot of what I do today.
James: So what is getting in the way of you just being in the studio doing those things, and not doing the other stuff?
Justin: You know, I do like a lot of what I do. You know what I like? I like who I’m doing it for. I’ve really fallen in love with the people that I’m helping with. You know, my team is taking me along. I’ve had a huge journey when it comes to employees. At one point, I was like, you know what, I’m never going to have employees again.
James: I think I remember that point.
Justin: Yeah, yeah. My goal was to build the world’s largest one-man business. And now I’m just absolutely enamored with my team, I think I’ve got the right people, they’re such good people, and I just want to help them build their lives. And same goes for my customers. And my kids, you know, I do a lot of what I do today for them, because it gives them this life that I have been given where I can just take whatever day I want, and I can go eat at whatever restaurant I want. I mean, I’m not like, mega rich or anything like that, but I can pretty much do what I want and go where I want.
James: Depends what you classify as rich.
Justin: Yeah, right.
James: You know, like, one of my mentors used to say, you know, what’s rich? And he goes, and you can’t answer money. I thought that was interesting. Maybe you’re rich in family; maybe you’re rich in friends, I relate to you, I absolutely adore my team. When I left my job, I wasn’t that keen on having a team. Then I built a team of 65, of course, as you know. When I sold the service businesses, the reason I sold them to the people who bought them is because they wanted to take on the team, and my team would get looked after. That was very important to me. The team I have now are just incredible, coming up to 10 years. They’ve worked for me more than twice as long as I’ve worked in any one business, you know, before, which is incredible.
Doing things for one’s self
I wonder, do you do things for you though, as well? Because, you know, I get the sense that a lot of people are doing things for their parents or their kids. But is it okay to have a life where you look after yourself as well?
Justin: Yeah. I mean, so the whole reason I only work 5am to 10am. I mean, dude, you know, let’s be honest, you started all this for me, right? You know, I was a mad man.
James: I remember prescribing video games for you, and that was counterintuitive at the time.
Justin: You did, you did. And you kicked it all off, man. I was a madman. I was working all the hours. I’d wake up and roll over to the computer and then I’d roll back over and go to bed, you know? I was always working.
James: Well, it can get a bit dull doing that.
Justin: Yeah, yeah. And so now I only, most days – some days I work till 1pm or, you know, some days I have a whole day that I work. But for the most part, I work five to 10. And then some days, I just take the whole day off. Sometimes I take three whole days off, because I can do whatever I want. So yeah, I will not compromise that. And that’s what I do for myself, so that I can have plenty of time to play Borderlands 3, or to do Dungeons and Dragons or to, you know, me and my daughter, we call it picture hunting, where we just take our cameras and we make it like we’re hunting, you know, we’re hunting for the good shot. Where are we going to find the good shot and the good angles? And we get all into it, laying on the floor and rolling to our side. And you know, we act like we’re elite photographers.
James: Oh, that’s so good. I enjoy watching; you’ve combined a few of your passions. I’ve seen some camera shots of toys.
James: I was wondering in the back of my mind, you know, did it take Ryan Levesque being a LEGO fanboy for you to be comfortable sharing pictures of toys for the rest of the world? You think he forged some new ground?
Justin: I didn’t even know that he did that.
James: Oh, he’s a huge, huge LEGO fan, and everyone knows it.
I used to think, like, Netflix was a guilty pleasure. Or, you know, watching YouTube videos and stuff, that’s what people do who are lazy or slack.
Justin: Right, right. Because that’s what we’re told by the media.
James: Well, I sort of told myself, because I had this sort of very hard, ingrained work ethic. Because, you know, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who were the builder generation. You know, they didn’t have butter, when they were kids. They were rationed, there was a war. So we have to change, you know, and then our parents take on some of the characteristics, and then we change, and then our kids. And that’s really this discussion, being open to that change. For me, a life-changer was blocking out Fridays and Mondays, as well as the weekend, from scheduled calls, and just doing my scheduled calls Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and in a morning block and an afternoon block. That gives me plenty of time. You know, after I did my coaching calls yesterday morning, I took my daughter down to the local pool for a nice swim, you know? And then we had a cafe lunch, and then I watched some Netflix before my afternoon session, and I enjoy life.
Who needs a billion-dollar business?
James: And you can actually build those things in. I don’t need a billion dollar company, though.
James: And that’s the thing. I don’t need to buy a football team, it’s not going to make me feel like a better person. It’s not built in me. It’s interesting you say you’re not as competitive anymore. Because I’ve noticed that. I used to be so competitive. And my competitiveness has eased right away, and it’s allowed me to have much better relationships with people in the marketplace who might have, you know, earlier on, been perceived as competitors. And I know you and I had a chat about this once. I think there was some guy out there sort of with a strong marketing message, and it was causing feelings in you, but you wanted to understand it. And then we sort of came to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter.
And I’ve been reading books like The Courage to Be Disliked. And you can see videos from Gary Vee, and there’s some good messaging out there about you know what, it doesn’t really matter what people think about you. And it doesn’t really matter about people’s perceptions, because they don’t really know you. And if you know yourself, and you’re true to yourself, then who cares? And so I think being able to let go of the need to have a jet or whatever, if that’s not your true burning desire, is a healthy thing.
Justin: I do believe that if that is you, if you like the shiny shoes and the suits and you want to buy a team, then go do that. But don’t think that everybody needs to do that.
James: No. And more importantly, I don’t think even those guys are telling people that they should do it. I think just because they’re into it and showing it, other people like, you know that saying, like, if you don’t have a plan, you fall into someone else’s?
Justin: Yeah. Right.
James: I think people just sort of, they get rah rah-ed up about that. And there seems to be, people are kind of willing to just hand over the reins to their brain to someone else and just go along for the ride and not have that independent thought, or the responsibility. I think that’s a key word that comes up. And that’s what I’m hoping to share with my children – responsibility, and a little bit of a stoic persistence and a fair bit of resilience. I think resilience is a skill that kids need. It’s like when they fall over and you pick them up instead of just looking around them and stuff. Oh, are you okay? You know, it’s like, come on, mate, you’re alright, and move on.
“Resilience is a skill that kids need.”
Justin: I couldn’t agree with you more.
James: Lately, you’ve been publishing really great posts, you know, business-related posts, you’ve been building up your training, business, ad skills. You know, it’s one of the top training places in the industry for learning traffic. Three come to mind. There’s AdSkills. There’s stuff Molly Pittman’s been doing. And there’s another one in our community called Ilana, she has Teach Traffic. But the people who are going through those trainings are coming out with great skills, and you’ve been on a mission lately, to build that up, and to share the message. You’ve got goals for it – do you want to talk about where that came from and what you’re planning to do?
Justin: Yeah. My goal is to fix the problem of being able to hire a good marketer. That’s my goal. I’m not going to clean the beaches. I’m not going to replant all the trees. That’s just not who I am. But what I really can do, what I believe I can do better than most people in the world is, I can raise up a good advertiser, somebody who really knows how to look after a budget, who knows how to really get an actual result. And so that’s my thing that I’m going to solve in the world.
The $10 million goal
And, you know, financially, $10 million, we’re chasing after that. When I posted that goal of, you know, we’re going to take AdSkills to $10 million, I had a bunch of buddies reach out to me and it was like, dude, you know, maybe $2 million. Like, maybe doubling what you’re at right now. Maybe you don’t need to 10X, maybe you just need to double what you’re at. And also to realize, you know, they told me, listen, you’ve got the dream business. Don’t ruin your dream business for the pursuit of just money. Because there’s a lot of people who are at $10 million or $100 million who wish they had a smaller business. And I’ve actually been learning that now that I’ve attracted some bigger clients and guys who have, you know, worked with billion-dollar companies and nine-figure companies, and then, you know, I talk to them, and they’re like, wait. You’re doing good money, you’ve got a team, you’re traveling, you get to work five to 10. Why are you trying to change the formula?
And I sometimes, in my quest for the milestones and the achievements, I sometimes lose the vision of like, maybe how good I’ve got it right now. And then I scared the death out of my team. You know, when I said, “Guys, new goal, $10 million.” They’re like, “Okay, boss, we’ll just do 10 times more of what we’re doing right now.” And so I had to re-announce you know, okay, the goal is still $10 million, but we’re going to kind of, we’re going to stop by $2 million first, before we get on down the road to $10 million.
James: Well, it’s really fascinating to me. It is the most-stated goal that I get at the SilverCircle level, $10 million. Because by that stage, you know, the average business is making three million, which means they’re either doing $500,000 or $6 million, somewhere in that range, but they want 10. That’s the most-stated goal. I can usually help people get to the core of why that’s their goal. I know for sure I posted on that post of yours, saying, it’s fine, if that’s your goal, but you’ll have to pay a price for it in some way. Because it’s also true – a lot of people who have a big business, they say, gosh, I wish I could just go back to when it was simple. It was so much easier when it was me and a little team, we made a couple of million, we had a good profit margin, life was cruise-y. You do bring in different levels of complexity.
Does parents’ success affect kids?
That being said, You know, I just watched a documentary about Bill Gates, and this guy’s a really fascinating guy. And you know, he’s a decabillionaire. Some people have just got a knack for it. His brain never switches off. And he loves it. Same as Warren Buffett, he seems to love his lifestyle of just, you know, reading and eating McDonald’s and drinking Coke and, you know, picking good businesses to invest in. And if they love it, that’s awesome. So I guess it’s really fascinating to understand why the goal and then, you know, reflecting back on to your kids. Do you think there’s a chance that could intimidate them or make it a bit harder for them to get out into life, the more and more successful you are? I’ve often wondered about that.
Justin: Yeah. My son, I’ve definitely noticed this. My daughter is a little bit too young, and she’s just so in love with the creative things. Just like I said, she just is always on, wanting to create, and we have to turn her off.
My son, on the other hand, we got to always be like, trying to turn him on, and he’s been a little ruined. Not ruin, that’s such a wrong word. But he’s just, he’s seen the big numbers, you know, because we’ve had fantastic months of revenue. He’s seen us fly to Sydney, and then Haiti and you know, he’s been to Jamaica, and we stayed at the same house that Chris Brown, the singer rapper, stayed at, you know, I mean, he’s just seen so much. And he’s only 16. You know, like I was telling you before the call that our biggest thing is, we’re trying to give them context. Like, we’re going to be staying on a farm here in Tennessee, and not only are we trying to get him to work on the farm, he’s very interested to work on the farm, because he just doesn’t even know what real work is. The only work he’s ever done is like, walking the dog, some chores around the house. And like, you know, we’ve paid him to upload a bunch of WordPress sites or something, a bunch of WordPress pages. He doesn’t know what, like, real work is. Even his first online job, he made $25 an hour, and he’s bragging around to my sisters and my cousins, who, to them, $25 an hour is a lot of money. And here’s this 16-year-old bragging about it, and they’ve worked so hard for what they’re making. And he doesn’t even understand that he just completely insulted them. And so that’s what I mean when I say ruined. Ruin’s not the right word. But he’s just –
James: He’s got filters.
Justin: Yeah, he’s seen the world in such a different way that it’s almost hard for him to see it smaller now, which, God, I hope it ends up being a good thing. But right now, it’s pretty tough right now.
James: I’ve got an optimism that it will. Similar for my kids, they’ve seen it. They’ve had a really good time; dad’s always had a nice, clean new car, and there’s always been food on the table. But my older kids, you know, they’re out there doing real jobs, traditional jobs, and one of them, at 18, he was doing some hard labor like apprentice, auto mechanic, and then he’s gone into sales. And it’s a great field for him to get experience. But he’s very resilient. And he’s really strong and independent, you know? He’s lived out of home by himself already. I’m really proud of my children and what they’re doing. They’ve seen a secure, safe world, and they’ve also experienced having to save and be responsible for their own finances. And I think that’s a positive. And I’m hoping that the next one along, you know, with the technology, will resolve itself. I think we’re making some positive steps.
But my thoughts, you know, why I would share this on the podcast is, if you’re a parent, and you’ve got a kid in that zone where they’re spending a lot of time on devices, and they’re starting to shut off from the outside world, I would, you know, act early. I would act earlier than I did before.
Justin: Yeah, I agree.
James: I would’ve done things differently. It gets to a point where even things like school just don’t become interesting.
Justin: They’re just overstimulated, and it’s hard for them.
James: Yeah. And they don’t have a need for money, they don’t have a need for actual, real-life friends. They just start to lock down and become housebound. And that’s a really difficult situation. But I do think that these things will be overcome, but pay attention to the early signs. And I think your kids just want time with the parent. And they want to feel safe and secure and loved. And that’s it. I think I’m a long way from writing a good parenting guide. Because, you know, we’ve had times in our life where we’ve just had to buckle down and do what needs to be done.
I know, when I had my first kids, I almost worked seven days a week because I was in survival mode, and a dash of survival, a dash of shock. And I pulled through and navigated my family through without having to put them into a dip. But then, you know, there does come a cost. And now I’m just trying to re-engineer things and make sure that I put the full focus on being a good parent, not over-spoiling them, but also sharing experiences that they have a unique ability to do. Like, gosh, my daughter’s already racked up a few flights for a six-month-old, having been to the Maldives and the Philippines and the Gold Coast. But she takes it all in stride. And how could she have a regular life when I don’t live one and her mom doesn’t live one? You know? So it’s an interesting time.
Justin: Yeah, it’s interesting, man. My daughter knows how to go downstairs to the hotel and charge a Coca Cola to the room. You know? She runs the place, man. She goes down for breakfast in the morning, and it’s a very interesting life.
James: Well, I hope the next chapter is fun for you.
Justin: I’m having a blast. I’m loving life right now.
What excites Justin now
Not starting a new business, but rather, building a new place
James: Yeah, you know, you’ve tried a few different versions of routines, and it sounds like you’re really dialling in your sort of North Star or your sort of central force of what is important to you, and locking out external factors that would take you off course. And it’s always a thrill to hear what your experiences are like, and to, you know, share this journey. We’ve talked so many times at different stages, and I’m also appreciative that you came over to Australia and visited us. It was great to do that. I always enjoy seeing you when I pop over to the United States. It’s great to come up and have a big friendly bear hug and see the family, who are always nearby. So let’s hope the next phase is amazing. And I appreciate you coming and sharing some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Just out of curiosity, what are you most excited about now, you know, coming into the rest of the year?
Justin: I haven’t made the announcement or anything yet, but kind of the next big phase of our life is we’re probably going to stop travelling here pretty soon. And we want to buy a big piece of land here in Tennessee, you know, like 1500 acres, kind of create a compound, a place people can kind of come out to and do a very different type of mastermind. I don’t even want to call it a mastermind, but, you know, I’m thinking bonfires and beers and just really having a good, honest time, in nature, and laughs and maybe some tears. And for myself as well, just getting back to nature, you know, that’s, you know, the real me would love to just be out in an art studio and you know, with a creek that runs through it in the mountains, and I would be just fine being all by myself in the woods. And so I’m getting there. That’s kind of what I’m really excited about. We’re building this compound, this piece of land; I want to create a place that my whole family can have a free vacation, they can come out every year and instead of having to pay for vacation, you know, they can just come out to the land and have a great time for a week and unwind and not have to worry about expenses and everything’s covered for them.
James: That’s something I can really support. I believe you when you say it, and I’m picturing it now. It’s awesome. I remember reading Joe Sugarman’s books, and he used to run boot camps at his ranch. And that gave me the idea to, combined with Perry Marshall, who used to run bobsled events at his place.
Justin: Oh, wow.
James: Like, those two ideas led me to running workshops in my place when I lived on five acres. I used to do SilverCircle intensives there, and it kind of led to me doing the thing with Ezra in Hawaii, which is how I got started surfing six years ago, and then led to doing the Maldives experiences. I love those sort of things.
Justin: Yeah. I’m going to create the most redneck mastermind anybody has ever seen.
James: That’s hilarious.
Justin: You have to be wearing jeans and a flannel. You know, it’s going to be a good time.
James: Do you get to shoot tin cans?
Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.
James: All right, well, sounds like an experience, that’s for sure.
Justin: Yeah. Great talking to you, buddy.
James: You too, Justin. Take care.
That’s Justin Brooke from adskills.com sharing behind the scenes, Episode 692.
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Martin Hurley says