#ALB60 – Christmas Special

Here we have the 2019 Christmas special with John and Jason, we are not just coming to the end of the year but also the end of a decade. Apparently, there is a rumour that these pair between them have some good banter, but we will let you be the judge of that.

Ambitious Lifestyle Business Podcast #60

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In this episode, John and Jason turn on the microphones and, in their words, “have a good old natter” about what 2019 looked like for them. The good, the bad and the ugly. This episode talks about everything from holidays, books, charity, stepping into the boxing ring, goals that were set way back in January, what they were and whether they were achieved.

Have challenges been set for 2020 yet? Click play to find out.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our lovely ALB listeners, a very happy Christmas and a very happy, healthy and successful new year.

Here’s the transcript from this very special episode…

Hey everybody, welcome to the Christmas special of The Ambitious Lifestyle Business Podcast. 

It’s the first time it’s just been the two of us this year, isn’t it?

For a little while, yeah.

We changed the format of the podcast about 18 months ago now and we decided we were gonna have guests on, we were gonna have some of our one percenters on, share their story and everything that they’ve learnt and I think that’s worked very, very well. But people have always been telling us that they like the banter…


Between the two of us. Yeah apparently we have banter.

Do we have banter?

Who knew?

I knew, nothing.– So I thought we’d actually just, you know, sit down, turn the microphones on and have a little natter.

A little natter.

So, here we are, 2019 is done or just about done. We are rapidly approaching the end of, not only the year, but the decade.

What a year!

So I thought we’d look back on what we’ve learnt, what’s happened, what’s been going on in our worlds over the last year. But also, let’s look back over the last decade. This is not a best of show, because let’s face it that would be a very short show. So what’s been going on in your world in 2019 mate?

2019, well, it’s been a year of firsts I think. I went on holiday, abroad. My last year’s New Year’s resolution – Took the kids, went to Spain, that was an experience. Viva Espana!– Viva Espana! Very hot! Lots of challenges..

Yeah, you chose to go to Spain in the hottest part of the year, didn’t you?

I did, yeah. Good fun, and yeah, I did it.

Cool, so doing it again next year?


Spain again?

No! No, no we’ve got that horrible place where they have that mouse and various other animals that dress up and love making you look happy and smiley…

Chessington World of Adventures?

In France! Yeah, so that’s all booked as well, so yeah, fortunately, there we go. All good!– Well done!– Or maybe fortunately, I’m not sure which. So yeah, the year before last’s New Year’s resolution we’ve managed to do this year, that’s good!

That’s good, because people get obsessed with, you know, I need to achieve everything, all my resolutions, all my goals for the year. I need to get them done, and often if they don’t get done, they just get dropped and forgotten, whereas actually, yeah, all right, maybe you don’t get everything on your list done, so you just defer it a year – And just go, okay I didn’t get that done, why didn’t I get it done? 

What can I do to do that now? 

I mean I’ve looked back over my vision board, you know I set up myself a vision board every year, and over the last year, 2019, I’ve achieved 14 of my 20 goals. So, that’s about a 70% success rate. In fact, it is a 70% success rate.

But, I’ve set myself 20 goals. 20 goals is quite a lot. So I kind of need to work on the assumption that I’m probably not going to achieve them all and that’s fine and it’s that acceptance that I’m just gonna set a load of goals and I’m gonna go for it, and actually, having that vision board really helps because by the time I get to August/September time, I’m starting to think oh, I’ve only got a couple of months left until the end of the year. 

Right, I still need to do something here to tick that one off, I still need to knock that one off. I mean, this years been a good year, I’ve achieved quite a lot of the goals that I wanted to and there were some big ones on there. 

Writing a new book, that was a pretty hefty goal that has pretty much dominated my year. So, I could have set myself just that one goal, hit that one goal, and gone, oh, high five me, I’ve got a 100% strike rate. 

But, I’d rather set myself 20 goals and fail miserably at six of them. 

Did you say you had a book out this year?

Have I not mentioned that?

No I didn’t notice, what’s it about?

Okay, well I must’ve snuck that out. It’s about these things called routines. I don’t know if you’d ever heard of these things.

What, routines? No, they don’t feature very highly in my life! My life is one big muddle, no it’s not. So, Routine Machine, that was good!

Yeah, that came out back in the summer, the audiobook obviously has just come out now.– Just in time for Christmas.– Ah, it’s perfect, it’s the perfect New Year new me book.

Look at the planning for any New Year and you say right, okay, I’ve got 12 months, what can I achieve in 12 months? And everyone goes, right, and they write down these 20 things. 

Oh, brilliant, given a nice clear run during the next year I’m gonna achieve this, and I’m gonna write a book, and I’m gonna exit these property investments, and I’m gonna make this money here, and I’m gonna launch this branding project here, and I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna go on this holiday, and I’m gonna do that, and then life goes oh, you think so do you? Oh, let me see about that. 

Well I was going to talk about some challenges as well, ’cause we’ve both had challenges, I mean, mine was a little bit easier this year because the year before last I did that September challenge, didn’t I? This year I did 30 days of walking 10,000 steps a day, that was much of this year, and then you had a personal challenge as well, didn’t you?

Yes, yes, it was a challenge, that’s for sure.So, I mean this all started with a conversation with you wasn’t it? It’s all your fault!

Don’t blame me.

Yep, so you sort of explained that your Grandad was a boxer?

He was! Yeah he was pretty good.

And I think I might have said, “oh, I’ve always fancied having a go at boxing”, and you said, “oh, that’s a good idea John, “we should do that!” I believe was what you said.

I did say that, yeah.

And I said, “that’s a great idea, “I’ve just seen this thing White Collar Boxing, “yeah, I think we should sign up for it, “we could do that, we’d get fit, “we’d have a challenge, be outside of our comfort zone, “we could have some fun, “ah, it would be a great thing to do together, “we’d have a great time.” You went, “yeah, that’s brilliant.” 

So, it went on my vision board, I had a picture of a boxer on my vision board, it was one of my 20 items. I’m sure it went on your vision board too, did it?

Yep! It did, it was absolutely something I really wanted to do. It absolutely was, unfortunately I didn’t get a leave pass.

Yes, I remember booking in and saying right, when are we gonna do this? I think training starts in March or something, the events in May, and you went, yeah, I can’t do it. I’ve been told no. 

What do you mean you’ve been told no? This was your idea. So, I ended up doing it, actually, on my own.

You weren’t on your own, we were there to support you. I was there in the ring with you at the time.

Were you?

Well I was trying to hold you up, but it just didn’t work out for too long.

I was gonna say, were you the guy with the blue gloves? Punching me, constantly? 

But it’s a challenge, and it really was a challenge. 

For those who want to read more about this, I wrote a blog detailing the entire journey, from literally the first day of training when they handed out the sick bowls around the gym, to the day after the fight night, which was a very inspiring time and I think I’ve learnt a lot from doing that. 

One of the things I’ve learnt is that boxing is clearly not for me. 

Spoiler alert, I came second in my fight, I’m sure that was pretty good, silver medal. It was one of the best one minute and 15 seconds of boxing you’ll ever see at Plymouth Guildhall at 5:30 in the evening.

On that particular day, I didn’t do very well, I ended up coming second in my fight, and a very clear second as well, there was no ambiguity about who’d won that fight, it wasn’t me. 

But the journey that I went on, this sounds like one of those cliches where, you know, what does somebody say when Alan Sugar fires you from The Apprentice? “Thank you for the opportunity Lord Sugar, thank you for the opportunity”. 

This sounds like one of those cliches, like oh, yeah, it was all about the journey. 

But actually no, it really was, because during those eight weeks, we were pushed, we were really, really pushed, we were challenged, and the stuff that I’ve learnt about myself in those eight weeks will stay with me beyond this. 

We’re filming this now, two and a half weeks after fight night, and I’m still doing a lot of the training that I was doing via boxing, and the biggest thing I’ve taken from that is this mental shift, between what I thought was capable of and what it turns out I actually am capable of.

And I think this stemmed from one particular session, it happened a lot during training, but there was one particular session where they just absolutely beasted us, and we turned up and we did these intense cardio sessions. 

So we did probably 10 minutes of that, then we did 40 minutes of sparring, which is literally just non-stop punching other people and getting punched yourself, and then we went back to doing the high intensity stuff again, and “the finisher”, as it was announced, was okay, we’re gonna do 40 seconds of exercise, 20 seconds of rest, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off. 

So, off we go, 40 seconds of squat jumps, 20 seconds rest, 40 seconds of press-ups, 20 seconds rest, 40 seconds of mountain-climbers, 20 seconds of rest, 40 seconds of, I don’t know, star-jumps, 20 seconds rest, 40 seconds of jumping-jacks, 20 seconds rest, and we did that for seven, eight, nine reps.

And then the coach during what we thought was the penultimate set, said to us, “oh, you’ve only got one more set after this guys.” 

We’re like, “thank god for that, “one more set of 40 seconds and we’re done.” 

He was like, “right okay, final set, 100 sit-ups.” 

And then there was just a collective, “you what?” 


Not 40 seconds of sit-ups? 

No, no, 100 sit-ups. 

And I think if you’d said to me on week one, day one, your gonna do 100 sit-ups, nothing else, I’d be like, I can’t do that. 

And it was that, sitting there in a pool of your own sweat going, I’ve just done all this exercise, I’ve done 45 minutes of sparring. I’m done! I’m cooked! I cannot do the 100 sit-ups! 

Turns out I can. 

And again, every time they would say, “right, drop and do 20 press-ups,” You’d do the press-ups. 

And every time they say, “right, do 20 burpees and then start sparring,” you stand up and you tell yourself that you can’t do this, and then your hands go up and you do it anyway, and that is the realisation that will stick with me, and hopefully it will stick with me for a long time, that I am capable of doing more than I thought I was.

That’s fab, and I’ll tell you this, I mean, personal challenges is something I’ve done for the last few years now, and I think it’s really important to do that and get yourself out of those comfort zones, and this year, amongst more than any other time that we’ve done it really, within the Ambitious Lifestyle Podcast, we’ve had lot’s of our guests who have pushed themselves to the extreme. 

No more extreme I guess, then the Mark Ormrod podcast, which is one, if you’ve not seen that one yet, it’s something you need to go back and have a look at because that is, you know, pushing yourself beyond any possibilities. Whatever you think is impossible, he’s, kind of, achieving those things. 

But then taking it to, even Ben, and his challenge over the summer, and his busiest time of his business, taking time out to walk 5, 6 peaks–– 6! 6 peaks, 6 countries.– In different countries. 

You know, totally amazing, that’s pushing it out of those zones, and the amount that you get from doing those personal challenges I think is unbelievable. 

Yeah, absolutely, and it’s memories that you’re gonna create and you’re gonna keep for the rest of your life. I know September for me was my big turning point really, and that was like, that was, anyway, talk about it now, it was two years ago, and it was fab, it really, really was, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Have I gone back and done it? No I haven’t. 

Another challenge this year, a bit different–– But are there elements of that that have stuck with you?– Yeah, absolutely! It is getting out there, I mean, it changed my line of sight, where it’s about everything I do has gotta be fun and sociable and meeting new people, and that’s what I try to make sure, that everything that I kind of say yes to involves those three elements, majority all three, and that’s what I’m saying yes to now. 

The things that don’t, I tend to say no to at the moment. So that’s, you know, when you say what you can do and what you can’t do, that’s how I kind of judge it these days. And actually, that’s important to me, to be meeting new people, to be having fun and being sociable. It’s gotta be all of those things, and if it isn’t, then I tend to say no these days.

So what’s gonna change then in 2020? What’s the next year gonna bring for you?

I don’t know, its exciting isn’t it? 2020!

I dunno, I don’t like not knowing. I like predictability.

There will be another challenge in there, but I don’t know what that’s going to look like now. I’ll have a little look through the year and see what…

Perhaps I could suggest a challenge for you, offer to come along on the journey with you, and then say nah, I’m not doing that.

Well, you could. Yeah, you could do that. But if it’s not fun, social and making me friends, I’ve got the get out clause to say no. From the fundraising point of view, my target is £100,000 this year. 2020 is gonna be incredible, I’ve got lots of things I’ve put in place to make sure that we can, kind of, get fairly close, or hitting that target, which is great. 

Last year I got Flame of Hope, so one of the top volunteer awards, or the top award, for volunteers in the country from Cancer Research. So that’s a, kind of, pinnacle moment really for me. That’s really, kind of, outstanding. So this year’s gonna be, how I can top that. Not sure how.

Bigger and better!

Bigger, better!

Cool I’m going the other way – I’m doing less. When I’m doing my annual planning, there’ll be so many people listening to this podcast now who are using this time, between Christmas and New Year, because, this is the time when the phone isn’t ringing, the emails aren’t pinging in, It’s time to sit down with a blank sheet, or with a journal, or with a notebook, or whatever, and plan out what’s gonna happen in the next year. 

And the best place to start, and I always want to start here, is what’s the gap between where I am now and where I would like to be in 12 months time? And often the best way to start there is, what have I not enjoyed this year? Where have I fallen down rabbit holes this year, that I really don’t want to end up? 

And for me, this year, was just realising that I’ve taken on too much. And that really sounds weird, and I said this, I was on a Facebook group the other day and I mentioned, and someone said, like, sum up what you’re going to do this year in one word, and I’d just seen this blog post by Derek Sivers called Subtract

And I was like, that’s my word for 2020 – “subtract”. 

I’m gonna take stuff away. 

Imagine a scale from one to 20, and you’re currently at 17. How do you get to 10, which is balance?

How do you get to ten from 17? 

Do you add three? No, that doesn’t work. 

Do you add 25? No, that doesn’t work. 

The only way you’re gonna get to 10, if we’re at 17, is to subtract. 

And I thought, that just really hit home with me at that time. 

I’d had a massive meltdown about a month earlier where we just, you know, we’ve added stuff. It’s like, yeah we’ve started homeschooling the boys. Oh great, just chuck another 10 hours of work in there. We had a key member of staff leave, and it’s like, oh great, here’s another thing that’s landed on my desk, and it’s just, so many things that over the years, and this wasn’t one decision, this wasn’t one thing, this was years and years and years of going yeah, we’ll buy that flat there, oh yeah, we’ll do that investment there oh yeah, I’ll take that job on, oh yeah, we’ll do that, we’ll launch that business, we’ll do this, we’ll do that.

And when I posted in this group that I was gonna subtract, this guy said to me, “you’re the last person I can think of that would need to subtract. You’re the last person that would take on stuff and would do too much”. But actually, it wasn’t one thing that I said, oh yeah, I’m gonna do this massive project, with the exception of maybe the homeschooling, which was this big thing and then we had a big health scare with one of our children this year, and that’s taken a lot of processing power, shall we say…

You’ve had lots of plates to spin, that’s the thing, and if it’s not your bag to spin plates, then actually, that isn’t comfy is it? That’s not great. It’s one thing stretching your comfort zone, but actually, to spin 20 plates when actually you can do one or two or maybe three at the tops, that’s one big old thing, isn’t it, for you?

Yeah, subtracting makes perfect sense.  I think for me, that was, what’s the one thing I really want to next year? I don’t want to do as much. 

Then it was that realisation of, why am I doing so much? It was like, well, because there’s an opportunity. Oh, we could make some money here, we could do something of worth here, I could do a challenge here, you know? I mean, even just doing the boxing. It’s like, oh yeah I’ll do a boxing challenge without realising that that means that I’m committing to doing training, half past eight til half past nine in the evening on a Tuesday and a Thursday. 

Well actually, I don’t train well in the evenings and I certainly don’t train well when that is tied in with family commitments, and then I wasn’t sleeping well, and it’s all these little things just all compound to work against you. So my big thing for next year, I’ve set myself 18 goals this year on my vision board.

So it’s two less than last year?

Yep!  But most of them are about actually doing less, and it’s about what do I enjoy doing, because you said just now, it’s gotta be fun, it’s gotta be social, I’ve got to actually enjoy doing it, and that was one of my big things, and I’ve written on my notes down here, I’ve written down enjoy two or three times already on my notes here and it’s… 

That’s all I want to do, you know? 

Now, in the past, my big drivers have been growth, you know, oh we need to grow the team, we need to grow the business, You know, I’d like to do another 25% on that business this year, oh, I’d like to buy another property here. 

This year, it’s about I want to enjoy what I do and it’s, I think this year, it’s taken that big throwing the toys out of the pram and going, “I can’t do this, I can’t spin all these plates.” And you know, every time I start spinning plates that I just go, “argh, I can’t spin them,” and then someone goes, “have another plate!” It’s like, oh great, cheers! 

Then before you know it, I’ve got them balanced on my nose and all over the place. That’s my big thing for next year, is to just take away the stuff I can take away, that I don’t want to be doing, and to focus more of my time, again there’s a spectrum here, it’s focusing more of my time on the stuff that I do enjoy, which is also the stuff where I give the most value to our businesses, so it makes sense if I focus there, rather than over here spinning plates. 

The other thing I think it helps to do, and it’s easy to do it now because were just about to enter a new decade, is to actually ignore the looking back at last year, looking forward to next year, and actually let’s go back 10 years. 

Let’s say, well actually, let’s imagine we’re sat here now in December 2009, what’s changed in those 10 years since then? 

And for me, certainly, that’s everything. 

Everything’s changed in those ten years. 

2009, December, I was still doing probably 70/80 hours a week, had a newborn baby, and this was pretty much when my Alan Sugar moment happened, ’cause I think we had the MOT that Christmas, and it was that realisation that, you know, this wasn’t the life that I thought I wanted. 

You know, I thought I wanted the yachts and supercars and skyscrapers and that, and what I actually wanted was to be there for that little baby and watch him grow up.

So that’s a huge mindset change really, isn’t it? 

It’s a huge kind of thing, it’s what most people would call growing up, I suppose.

Realising what are dreams and what are healthy ambitions, or healthy realisms if you like. That’s the difference I guess, and nothing brings out more perspective then having a child that you’re now responsible for.

July 2010, so coming up for 10 years ago, was when I first went part time. You know, Jack started at nursery, and all of a sudden I went from, right, I’ve got 100 hours a week, great, I can do everything, I can do all the things, give me the plates, I want the plates, because I can spin plates because I’ve got 100 hours a week to spin them. Versus…

Just one at a time!

Yeah, and then it became, well actually, I’ve got 20-25 hours a week. Ah, better not be spinning plates, and it was just that, at the time, it was worrying. I was like, oh my god, am I gonna be able to pay the bills working a quarter of the hours that I’d previously worked? 

And it turned out, that actually yeah, I suddenly became more effective per hour, and I could actually get more done in 25 hours than I could in 100, which just seems completely counterproductive. I talk about, in Routine Machine, about the before photo. And actually, if you were to take a snapshot of me 10 years ago versus now, then yes that’s my before photo. 

That’s when I was working 100 hours a week, that’s when I was four stone overweight, that’s when I was still drinking, that’s when I was, you know, the business was doing, or certainly our sports betting business at that time, I was doing about 75 grand a year. I didn’t have much equity in the house, I hadn’t paid the mortgage down, I didn’t have any savings. It was the proper before photo, and now 10 years later it’s a world of difference. 

You know, the business is doing 10 times that, it employs a couple of members of staff, I’ve lost all the weight, now able to win a silver medal at the boxing. I could’ve taken on Anthony Joshua this year if only I’d been capable of…

You’d have still come second!

Exactly! It’s exactly the same result.

Same result!

I might not have lasted one minute and 15 seconds against Anthony Joshua though, that’s the only thing.

You’d have learned to dance better.

It’s a cliche that we hear again and again and again that most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year. I’m gonna set 20 goals next year! Yeah, all right, I’ve got 14 of them, that’s pretty good going, but most people will set 20 goals and hit three of them. 

Most people, though, underestimate what they can do in 10 years. They go right, okay, what am I gonna do next year? Next year I’m gonna do 20% more, I’m gonna do 25% more. What you gonna do in 10 years? Ooh, I could probably do 80% more in 10 years. 

No, bollocks could you! You could 10x that business in 10 years. 

It’s also very difficult to predict, so we’ve looked back at 2010, let’s look forward to 2030. 

What’s our business, our lives gonna look like in 2030? 

Not a clue!

No idea, no.

Not a clue! ‘Cause the 2010 me literally could not have predicted where we are now. 

Would the 2010 me, you know, let’s say four stone overweight, you know, working 100 hour weeks, just got a newborn baby, is that guy gonna go, oh yeah, you’re gonna start doing some property stuff, and you’re gonna write a couple of books, and you’re gonna end up coaching business owners, oh, and you’re gonna run this business, and you’re gonna launch this new business.

And you’re gonna step in the boxing ring.

And you’re gonna do all this working from home, oh and you’re gonna be homeschooling your kids. You’re like, no. 

Would never have predicted that. 

How can you predict what the world is gonna look like ten years from now? Are we gonna have self-driving cars? Is AI gonna be taking things over? Where’s gonna be the dominant market place? Are you gonna be able to use social media in the same ways you can now? 

The only thing you can guarantee is that things aren’t gonna stay the same, and all I will say when I’m planning it, and I am thinking about it, I think you’ve got to think about where are you headed over the 10…

Yeah, ’cause with all those things you said you’ve found, whether there’s a car or the AI and stuff, isn’t stuff that you’re even gonna control, so it’s nothing that you’ve got any control over, so actually, that part of your next 10 years or our next 10 years or my next 10 years, however you want to look at that, you’ve got no control over what external stuff happens but you can put stuff in place that actually, you’ve got a better idea of what 2030 will look like through your own personal suffering you do have the control of.

Yeah, I mean, all I know is that if I spend the next 10 years creating assets and enjoying the work I do creating those assets, I’m gonna be in a good place. You know, I might be living on Mars by then, I don’t know, it’s quite possible. I may have an AI chip in me somewhere that is able to, you know, I can work 100 hour weeks again. But effectively, it’s possible. I don’t know where the world is gonna head, all I know is what’s my place in it. My role is to create these evergreen assets for our businesses and for myself personally, and to enjoy doing so. That’s it! And having that as a kind of, I’m gonna quote bloody Gary Vee again now, aren’t I, as a North Star, as that guiding principle of, well, it’s not, you know, I know people people who will say, well, by 2030 we’re going to have exited our business. It’s going to be, you know, I’ve got a cheque on the wall, it’s this x amount, that’s great! 

That’s giving you a purpose, that’s giving you a vision, but that’s a very specific vision. I can’t say with any certainty what any company is gonna be worth in 10 years time. Because, you know, let’s pick any company, like pick Google, I could not predict within $400 million what Google is going to be worth in 10 years, or if they’re even still going to be going. 

Oh, why wouldn’t they still be going? 

Well we said the same about Kodak and Blockbuster and…


All these big, big companies that were too big to fail. 

Very interesting report I saw the other day, looking at the fortune 500 companies from 1955, and of these 500 companies, 475 of them no longer exist. 

So, most companies fail eventually, because nothing stays the same. 

And so, that’s a really horrible place to leave that, isn’t it? But have that guiding star, have that vision of where you’re headed over the long term period, and as long as you’re headed in that right direction, and every now and then you’re gonna get blown off course, you’re gonna get these curve balls thrown at you, life’s gonna say, “hey, I’ve got a better plan than that. “You’re gonna get ill this year”

You need a challenge.

You’re gonna lose a loved one this year, you’re gonna have a financial meltdown this year, that is gonna happen, potentially, to some people listening to this. It could happen to me, it could happen to you. All we can say is how we react to that is, okay, we’re gonna get knocked off course… 

I’m gonna use this brilliant, another boxing metaphor now, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.

That isn’t boxing!

It is, isn’t it?


I’m sure I’ve heard it somewhere like that.


I was gonna say, are you drinking a whiskey drink?

Shall we talk book of the year?

Go on then! 

So what book have you read this year?

I have read…

From a pool of one, Jason chooses…

I’ve read a few, but I can’t remember what they are. The last one I read was, it was very good, I think its something that, actually, I think everyone should read it to be honest with you, because it, kind of, just lines you up in a place where you can get yourself out of your business, and that’s the important thing for most people is that they’re not working and doing hours and hours and hours on stuff that is the business. 

They should be getting out of that, and this book by that chap who wrote Profit First called…

No, I’m gonna let you do it!

Oh, are you? Mike Michalowicz.

Close enough!

Is that close enough? So, he has also written a book called Clockwise. Clockwork, in fact.

Clockwise was a John Cleese film.

Yes, that was John Cleese, wasn’t it? Yeah, that was a good film too. If you don’t catch the book, watch the film! Oh, I love these little chats!

You should do more book summaries mate, you’re pretty good!

Yeah, Clockwork, that’s what it is. It’s the guide to designing your business without you, or something like that, I think it’s called, isn’t it? Run itself, that’s it! Get the business to run itself, design your business to run itself, and that’s pretty much what its all about. It’s understanding what the aim of the business is, and it’s got that title, I can’t remember what it says, something about being the queen bee, isn’t it? Queen bee something or other.

I see you’ve got a script there mate, it’s very good!

Queen bee role, that’s it! What’s your queen bee role? What’s your USP? What’s your thing that the business should be doing? And then it kind of looks at ways of getting rid of all those other things which don’t affect the queen bee role, to be able to spread your time more effectively, and then it looks about how to then get staff in to fill those gaps where you need those holes filling, and then it takes more staff on now to get you out of the business all together. 

So, it’s quite a bit of a journey, it’s a bit of a book which kind of helps you find your way of getting out of your business, or doing less work in your business, so you can actually concentrate on beyond the business stuff, and doing well at more stuff.

Oh, that ties in quite nicely with what I was saying earlier about removing yourself from the tasks that you shouldn’t really be doing to focus more of your time, energy and commitment to the stuff that you’re A, better at, and that B, you’re suited to actually, it’s where you are better able to serve your business, is by doing this particular role, and I think so many people just go, yeah well, I need to do the accounts, and I need to do the bookkeeping, and I need to do all the admin, and yeah I need to do that little process, because, you know, I’ve always done that. 

That’s great, but every hour your spending doing that, A, someone else could probably do it in 40 minutes and B, that hour your depleting your energy reserves and your time reserves to spend doing the thing you’re really good at, which, and again, we’ve talked before about, you know, thousand hour jobs and £10 an hour jobs, and I think so many people, they’re busy, busy people, but busy spinning those plates.

This kind of gets rid of the plates for you, that’s the thing, so it kind of works out.

Does it? Oh good.

It kind of works out what you’re queen bee roll is.

So what’s the queen bee? How are you defining that?

It’s basically the essential thing you need to keep the hive going is the queen bee, isn’t it? And having that as the central part of your business, that’s what keeps the rest of the business going, that’s what you’re doing it for, the drone bees are all there to supply the queen, the queen then provides the youngsters, the youngsters then create the business. 

That’s the, kind of, hive mentality if you like. So, from your business point of view, it’s what’s the core thing? What is your business? So, we provide great sports betting tips, selections, that’s what our sports betting staff does, and that’s our queen bee role. So everything we do should be related to giving people what it is they’re coming to us for, if that makes sense, and all of the other stuff which, maybe, isn’t necessary, or doesn’t aid that particular aim, is the stuff we’re trying to cut loose, or we outsource, or we get somebody else in, or whatever the case may be.

Very interesting, yeah. I like Mike Mic…. Ah, you got me there, Mike Michalowicz’s work.

Not a fan of his voice. I don’t like his narration, I’ve gotta be honest with you. I mean, I’ve read Profit First, I’ve read Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. What was the other one?

Pumpkin Plan!

Oh, Pumpkin Plan, yeah, yeah.

And I like his writing style, I like the content contained within, but his narration style really grates on me, because he’s got one little habit, well two actually. Number one, he thinks he’s funny, and he tells these little jokes and has a little chuckle to himself on the audio. Like, don’t laugh at your own jokes. Rule number one, don’t laugh at your own jokes. 

And secondly, he’ll include quotes from people in the book, which is fine, until he does the narration, when he puts on an accent, and when he’s got quotes from seven or eight different people, all of a sudden, there’s some weird accents going on. 

It’s like an episode of The Muppets, where everybody has gone on holiday and it’s just one guy doing all the voices, you know? No, not good. 

So, if you’re listening Mike, get someone else to do the narration. It’s not often I say that, is it? I fought to narrate my own audiobook, and I’ve always said audiobooks are better when they’re narrated by the author. 

Hey, there’s an exception to every rule.– And the good thing about his style is he gives loads of examples of how to do it, and then he’s also got a website with loads of tools and stuff like that. So if you’ve got the book, you can get in and get all of the resources that and stuff that goes with it, and that I like, because actually, it’s workable examples, things that you can apply to your own business and get those things done within your business in a nice, easy kind of way, And I quite like that.

There you go mate! You’ve read a book.

Yes, I remember what it’s called, nearly. I remembered the content, almost.

 I remember something that was about a secondary school teacher who was late and I…

Stuck in a field with a car? 

No! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie, I might have to dig that out over Christmas.

What about you mate? I was gonna say, have you been doing any reading this year?

Well, you know me, I’ve done loads of reading, and actually, I was looking back, when we were planning this, looking back through my Audible history, my Kindle history, the physical books I’ve got on my bookshelf. I’ve read lots of books this year, but actually most of the books I’ve read this year have been, kind of, health books. 

My thinking behind this is, look, if I’m gonna snowball wealth over the long term, and I think we posted this in the one percent club a few months back now, we had this question that was going through my mind, which was, what is the one thing I can do to maximise wealth creation in my lifetime? 

And my answer was to have a longer lifetime, because, you know, I talk often about the hill of time, and Warren Buffet’s snowball effect again is actually, you’ve got the snow, and no matter how much snow you’ve got, the longer your hill of time is, the more time you’ve got to compound. 

So whether you’re buying properties and reinvesting them, or you’re reinvesting the profits from your business, or you’re just playing the stock market, or whatever, if you are compounding in any way, adding five years, 10 years, 40 years to your life makes all the difference. 

So actually now, when I’m looking at any of our investments I’m no longer thinking, how do I change this investment from getting an 8% return to a 10% return. I’m now sat there going, 8% is fine. 

How do I turn 8% for 40 years into 8% for 60 years? And the only way I can do that is to live longer. 

So, I’m looking up and down there, there’s books over there, I’ve got Dr Rangan Chatterjee, his Four Pillar Plan. Great, great, thing for pretty basic wellbeing and longevity. I’ve got Dave Asprey with his Game Changers book, that’s not related to the Netflix vegan propaganda film that I saw. But that’s more advanced, kind of, bio-hacking, you know, take these supplements and try this for a month, and don’t eat any of this, and hack away at everything. 

The Longevity Paradox was another one I read this year, Dr Steven Gundry talking about how plants are trying to kill us, and basically what we need to do, eat and feel in order to live longer, and that was, you know, a study of the people that have lived the longest in our society so far. There are already people living to 110, 120. 

My number, by the way, is 120. That’s where I’m planning on living to now, and I’m doing that based on the fact that, again, we don’t know what technology is gonna happen, but I’m figuring that if I can make it to 80, which is nearly 40 years from now, we’ll have advanced technology a little bit by then.

If you get to 123, you’ll see 2100.

Would I?

2100, yeah!

Oh, I’ll go for 123 then. I like the sound of that, 123. Yeah, 123 I’m gonna go for!

Anyway, it’s not called books of the year. It’s called book of the year, so one book please.

So, I was looking at all these health books I’m reading and it’s like, yeah, that’s my big thing this year has been looking after my health so that I live longer, so that I’ve got more energy to bring to the business, but of those books there isn’t really any one standout.

So your book of the year John?

My book of the year is, drum roll please? It’s Hooked by Nir Eyal. 

Now this is a book that sat on my bookshelf for about two years before I even opened it. I was in a branch of Waterstones several years ago, spotted this book and thought, oh, that looks really interesting. So this is a book about habit forming products, how to design your product or service to be, for want of a better word, addictive, and this is the stuff that Facebook have done and Google have done and Amazon have done to make their products more sticky, to make them more usable, to make users come back again and again and again. 

And this book sat on my shelf, for like I said, two years, it didn’t get read. This year, I picked it up and I started reading it. Now its only, I think it’s less than 200 pages, and they’re not big pages. Yeah about… Oh, just over 200 pages, not big pages. I should’ve been able to get through that in about a weekend. It took me, I dunno, five months to get through it. I’d read a few pages, it’s heavy going, it’s some scientific stuff, and by the time I finished it, so two years on the bookshelf, four months to read it, I thought well, that was all right, I quite enjoyed that. 

And then, my book reading routine is to go back through every book as soon as I’ve finished it and read my highlights, and make notes on them so that I can teach other people. So, every time I read a book I do kind of a debrief, and I’ll, if there’s some lessons in there for our one percent club members, it’s like, hey guys, here’s something I’ve learnt from this book, you don’t need to read the book because I’ve got these lessons for you. 

And I sat down, got my pad and paper out, went through my highlights for this book. 11 and a half pages of A4 I ended up with notes, and I was like, oh that’s pretty useful, there’s a lot of information in here, and so we decided, oh well, what we’ll do, we’ll turn it in to a masterclass for our one percenters. 

They’re normally every month for the one percent club members, we give them a 60 minute masterclass, and we’ve done things on SEO, and Facebook ads, and Google ads.

Getting customers.

Copywriting, writing emails, building websites, we’ve tackled a lot of topics on there.

 Normally 60 minutes, and we’re pretty good at sticking to those 60 minutes normally, aren’t we?

Pretty good.

93 minutes our Hooked math class was, because there was just so much information there, and I think I referred to it as customer retention on steroids. 

It’s basically, if you want your customers to never leave you, to come back again and again and again, and bring all of their friends with them, and spend more money, then you need to read Hooked. 

I’m not gonna go into any level of depth about what it is, because hey, if you’re one of our one percenters you’ve got a 94 minute masterclass, and if I start, it’s not gonna be any quicker. 

You’ll probably end up with 13 minutes of me trying to give you a very quick summary.

Like John said, think of those companies that you’ve got on your phone that you go to for any particular thing, whether that was a game, or whether that’s an app, or whatever it may be that you do, you think about those, and that’s the kind of stuff that you’re talking about.

There is a process.

Because there’s things that make you go back to that thing. Why do you keep Netflix? Why do you keep going back to that? Or why do you buy from Amazon? Or why do you play Candy Crush? Or why do you do all of these reasons? And that’s got the science in it, behind it.

Yeah, when you start seeing the process, and this is how things are made, and you start looking at it, oh yeah, that’s exactly what Amazon did, and that’s why I choose to buy things from Amazon over anybody else, this is why I suddenly find myself 15 minutes into a quick 30 seconds of scrolling on Facebook. This is what’s happening and you can see the science behind it. 

So yeah, that’s my book of the year. Obviously, the only other book I’ve read this year, and I’ve read quite a lot of it, was Routine Machine by John Lamerton. I’ve read that one about 10 times.

Is it any good?

It was all right the first few times. 

What was your main takeaway? My main takeaway, routines are quite important.


Because they dictate where you end up. Like, where I am now, is a result of the routines and habits that I’ve done over those last 10 years, and where I will end up in 2030, will be dictated to more by the daily habits and routines that I do over the next 10 years then anything else, any one thing I’ll do.

Where did you buy it from?

I bought it from Amazon.

Oh, it’s on Amazon?

It’s on Amazon, yeah!

Oh okay.

Audiobooks there as well, audiobook read by the author, which is very, very good as long as you don’t laugh at your own jokes.

Well, we’ve enjoyed this little Christmas special guys. 

We’ll be back in 2020 with our usual format, and our first guest of 2020 is actually Colette Mason, who is my book publisher, so we’re gonna be talking about the book writing process that I went through for Routine Machine and for my first book, Big Ideas for Small Businesses

We recorded it last week and it’s a very..

I was just about to say I can’t wait to meet her on the podcast.

You can’t wait to meet her, even though you met her last week when we recorded it. You’re seeing behind the scenes here, of how it all works.

I wasn’t gonna spoil the illusion John.

God, these guys thought we were professionals, we’ve found out there’s a script, we’ve found out you’ve read more than one book.

Who knew? 

Oh, a very merry Christmas to you, one and all, and have a great happy New Year.

I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic 2020!

Some more Big ideas

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#ALB37 How Neville Wright turned 37p and his Dad’s ladder into a £100 million empire

#ALB49 ThreeSixty Mortgages podcast

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“John and Jason have been there and done it and don’t have an ego about it like many others.

I know I am better organised, better planned and prepared and more likely to succeed sooner, thanks to their wisdom and experience.”

Matt Tricot - 1upsearch

"Two normal blokes from Plymouth" John and Jason have been working together, building businesses for over two decades!

They're the anti-gurus with a strong dislike of psuedo business psycho-babble. Their no-nonsense, straightforward approach with relateable and valuable advice has won them followers from all over the world. They've helped hundreds of business owners improve their businesses and lives.

The King of Can-do and the 'Lazy' Entrepreneur have a mountain of knowledge they're happy to share.

Could you DOUBLE your business 1% at a time?

Could you grow your business by just 1% this week? That doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Well, if you could grow your business by just 1% every week, after 69 weeks, you’d have DOUBLED your business!

These 1% gains are the same techniques used by the British Cycling Team that helped them turn a bunch of “also-rans” into world beaters, notching up forty-two medals in the last four Olympics, as well as winning six of the last seven Tour De France races.

The One Percent Club will show you EXACTLY how to implement these 1% gains into your business, and how they can stack up to REALLY grow your business.

John released his first book “Big Ideas… for Small Businesses” in 2017, and it shot straight to the #1 bestseller list for Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Amazon, outselling books by Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Duncan Bannatyne combined.

Since then, it’s sold thousands and thousands of copies all over the world, and attracted more than 100 five-star reviews. But more importantly, it’s changed the lives of small business owners all over the world, who now understand that running a lifestyle business isn’t a bad thing.

I think you’ll like it…

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