Today I’ve got a guest on the show who I’ve followed and looked up to for a long time. His name is Jeff Rose, and he runs a website called Good Financial Cents.

If you’re strictly a real estate investor, you may not be familiar with Jeff or his site, but I can assure you that he is a big deal in the world of personal finance bloggers.

Jeff is a specialist in wealth hacks and income accelerators and has a lot of great ideas for personal investing in general.

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Episode Transcription

Seth: Hey, everybody, how's it going? It’s Seth Williams here and you're listening to the REtipster podcast. Today I've got a guest on the show who I've followed and looked up to for quite a while. His name is Jeff Rose, and he runs a website called Good Financial Cents.

Now, if you're strictly a real estate investor, you may not be familiar with Jeff or his site, but I can assure you that he's a pretty big deal in the world of personal finance blogs. He's been around for a long time. A lot of people know him.

Jeff is a specialist in wealth hacks, income accelerators. He's got a lot of great ideas for it, just personal investing in general. So, I wanted to invite Jeff on and just see what would come out of this conversation that we're about to have. So, Jeff, welcome to the show.

Jeff: Thanks for having me.

Seth: Yeah, absolutely, man. Aside from what I just said, what do you do? What is your history? What's your story? How did you fall into your current career path?

Jeff: What do I do? I successfully get four kids to school each and every day. My 15-, 12-, 11- and 7-year-old.

Seth: Yeah, that's a big deal.

Jeff: That is a big deal. It takes up a lot of time.

Seth: Yeah.

Jeff: But I'm grateful for it each and every day, even when my daughter struggles with picking out the shoes that match her outfit, that we experienced this morning. I really appreciate the introduction, man. It's been a blessing to be where I'm at today. The fact that right now, I work from home. I'm currently recording from my YouTube podcast studio, which is the second floor of our pool house.

And sometimes I just have to say that out loud because it's like, wow, that's pretty sweet because I don't know if I ever would've thought that I would say that type of statement three years ago, five years ago, maybe three years ago, five years ago, or 10, especially 20 years ago.

Seth: Yeah.

Jeff: I graduated college. After struggling with debt, I took out student loans even though I didn't need to because I joined the Army National Guard. I was a college dropout going nowhere. Got mixed up in drugs, really was working in a cubicle doing data entry for my mom's company.

Not the company that she owned. She just was in HR. Not HR. She was in accounts receivable for a stuffed animal company. They no longer exist. It was called Applause. They made like Winnie the Poo. And when I dropped out of college, I needed a job. So, I was sitting in a cubicle doing data entry, working a 10-key like it was nobody's business. And I was hating life, hating life.

And luckily, I joined the military, end up getting to school, end up majoring in finance, got an internship at a local investment firm. I used to live in southern Illinois. And that led a journey of me becoming a financial advisor, which I remember clearly stating to several clients that I will be doing this the rest of my life. Three years ago, I sold that business. So, not so much my entire life. I think it was almost 16 years that I was a financial planner, had my own wealth management firm that I sold.

And the reason I sold was not because I had a midlife crisis, which I'm 44 now, so that's probably coming. And I'm sure there's a Corvette or some sort of sports car on the horizon. Actually, no, it's been Jordan. I wear a lot of Jordan sneakers. That's my midlife crisis.

But somewhere in the middle of me being a financial planner, I started a financial blog. And this was back in 2008 when I didn't know anything about social media, did not have Facebook, was not on MySpace. None of this stuff. But I had just co-founded an investment firm with three other guys. I was what we call in the independent space.

So, we had a little bit more freedom to market ourselves differently than the traditional Merrill Lynches and Edward Jones and those type of advisors. Trying to think outside the box. I was just reading a bunch of magazines like Financial Planning Magazine and Financial Advisor Magazine, and read this article and talked about how if you really want to stand out from the competition, you need to start a blog. And I remember I read this one-page article and I'm like, “Yes, that's what I'm going to do. What's a blog?” Because I had no idea really what it was at that time.

I was a certified financial planner, which is a designation that you don't have to get as a financial advisor. Kind of like an accountant doesn't have to become a CPA. But it was something that I felt like that I needed to stand out because I was young, still kind of young I guess, but definitely younger back then. And trying to help stand out, to show clients and potential clients like, “Hey, I am serious about what I do. I'm committed to the financial planning process because I've got the alphabet soup behind me.”

Anyway, I had those credentials. So, I went to Google after reading this article about blogging. I typed in “certified financial planner blogs.” And when I typed that into Google back in 2008, what came up was like two or three blogs in the entire country.

Seth: Oh, that's crazy. That's a different time, huh?

Jeff: And totally different time. If you typed that in now, you're going to have a lot more results than back then. And I just remember the two or three I went to, I'm like, “Oh, they look okay.” It did look great. I don’t know what I was envisioning, but it looked like that 55-year-old guy who figured out how to start a website to sell dry cleaning or something. But it was one of those times, prior to that, I'd always heard that expression, “Oh, you need to find your niche. You need to find your niche.” And I'm like, “I don't even know, is it niche? Is it niche? How do you pronounce it? How do you know what it is?”

Seth: I still don’t know how.

Jeff: That’s just my best guess. But I just remember getting so excited when I felt like, “Oh my gosh, I think I just found something. I think I just uncovered something.” And it was like, in that moment, that I made this silent declaration that I'm going to have the best financial planner blog that exists. I don't even know what that really means, but I'm going to figure it out.

And that's what I did. I started learning SEO. I learned how to write blog posts. I should also mention for anybody that's like, “Oh, I'm thinking about doing a blog, but I suck at writing.” My senior year English teacher told me, and I'm sure I kind of twisted her words, but I remember her clearly saying something to the fact that, “Jeff, you try really, really hard at writing, but you're just not that good.”

Seth: Oh, wow.

Jeff: And she was really nice. The thing though, when I heard that from her, I'm like, “Yeah, you're right.” I totally agree with her because I was decent at math, but writing wasn't my thing. But after reading blog posts and checking out other personal finance blogs, just learning how to write, learning about SEO, social media marketing and all this was geared toward trying to build my financial planning practice by using online marketing to drive in new leads. Because I was tired of doing seminars, I definitely was not doing cold calling anymore, which I did in my first couple years. And all of a sudden, I started having success with what I was doing.

Seth: Yeah. Being a certified financial planner, what exactly did that entail? Were you daily managing people's funds for them, trading stocks in and out? Or was it more just like, “I think you should put your money in this fund, do that?” How involved was that?

Jeff: Yeah, I think every planner does it differently. And there was definitely this time where I had a lot of ignorance, ignorant confidence in that I could build custom portfolios for my clients. And I think that was true if I was managing say like a dozen clients. But when I had 100, 150 different households that I'm managing, trying to build custom portfolios for each and every single one of them, I just got to the point where I just couldn't do it.

So, you can hire outside money managers. The brokerage firm that we'd partnered with, they had their own custom portfolios we could use, we could outsource the third-party asset managers.

And so, basically my role was sitting down with the client, taking a look at where they were in that moment. Are they in their 50s? Are they in their 60s? How much do they have saved? And then help them identify what are they trying to accomplish, what are their goals?

And most of them, they didn't really know how to even articulate what their goals were. It was, “Oh, I want to retire.” Great, when do you want to retire? How much do you need to live off of when you retire? How much do you have saved? What are you comfortable with? You have any plans after retirement?

Basically, just having to extract a lot of information that sometimes they hadn't even taken the time to think about. It was a lot of relationship building, a lot of mentorships, coaching, consulting, and that's the part that actually was a lot of fun. Probably, one of the main reasons why I ended up getting out of the business was I just got really tired of I'm assuming the market is up or down today, or I know we were been trending down.

I think we hit a bear market at one time. It's times like this where I'm like, “Praise God that I am no longer having to field all the questions of why their portfolios are down 2%.”

Seth: Yeah.

Jeff: That was like the broken record conversations that I just got tired of having. But as far as meeting with people and having conversations and learning their money story and helping them articulate their goals and achieve their goals, that was the part that I enjoyed.

Seth: Yeah. That would drive me nuts too. Having to answer questions on things that I really can't control and aren't my fault. But like I said, I sort of get the concern, but still, it's like, “What do you want me to do?” That would drive me nuts.

In terms of starting the blog, how critical was it that you be a certified financial planner in order to do the blog and YouTube channel stuff that you're doing now? Was it kind of crucial or were they kind of disconnected?

Jeff: Looking back, I didn't think of it as a big deal in the online space. Whenever I got my CFP designation, I did that more for the validity of, “Hey, I am serious about the financial planning process.” What ended up being a fun byproduct of that was when I started connecting with other personal finance bloggers.

And when I say personal finance bloggers, these typically were people that were still working a nine-to-five job. They just had a passion for investing or budgeting or personal finance in general. And then they just started sharing their journey of where they were, maybe had a bunch of debt, this is what they learned about investing, here are some investing strategies that they've been testing out.

It was really just like sharing their journey. Whenever I started, when I entered these chat rooms and started connecting with many of them, they were like, “Oh, you're a CFP. You're legit. Okay, sure.” It definitely gave me this VIP pass of, “Oh yeah, you've got the legit check mark, you've been verified.”

What also helped was getting quoted in the media. It seemed like it was a lower obstacle or a lower barrier just because I had those credentials, that helped. Connecting with journalists, getting guest posts on different sites, writing for bigger sites. Having that CFP designation definitely helped, which I never even would've thought until when I started to network and connect with other people.

Seth: I feel like you've gotten quoted in the media a lot. Have you been on national news shows before or something? I feel like I've seen you on some kind of thing on YouTube where you were a guest speaker and sitting around four other people. And I've seen you write for huge websites. How do you get so well connected like that? Do they just find you or are you reaching out to them?

Jeff: That was a lot of networking, a lot of building, connections with other personal finance bloggers, journalists. And initially, gosh, I'm trying to remember. Because I remember getting on Forbes, writing for Forbes, that was a big deal. And I struck out twice and there were two people that I connected with and one of them was, people may know him may, they may not know him. The name is Noah Kagan.

Seth: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: He is the CEO of AppSumo, or I guess now sumo.com. He was Facebook employee number 20 or 30 something. He even introduced me to his Forbes editor. And ghosted, didn't get a response. I had somebody else who also was already a contributor for Forbes, try to connect me to their editor. Ghosted.

It was like my third attempt at somebody else that was also writing for Forbes. And she even helped me almost draft my resume because it's like what ideas are you going to bring, but also how many eyeballs can you bring to their platform. Finally, the third attempt, I got accepted years ago. That was years ago now.

But before all that, I remember I started writing for it and I can't remember the site now. It was not Experian, but I think it might be like a tax blog. And they were paying me $50 to write a 500-word article, but it was like a Fortune 1,000 company. It was a recognizable name. And that was just one of those stepping stones of “Yeah, I will do it just so I can get my byline.”

And there were other platforms, sometimes they wouldn't even pay you like Huffington Post when they used to allow you to write for them, they didn't pay you. You'd have to write a 5,000-word article, which for me, that's like half a day's work, if not longer.

But you would do this just as a way to say, “Hey, I was published on such and such platform.” And it was doing those little things along the way to build up your resume to all of a sudden now you get into Forbes and then you get into Business Insider and then somehow, I got nominated to be on this CNBC Financial Advisor Digital Council. Which is something that once you've done it, you can't take it away.

Any opportunity that I could write for a site, I was willing to figure out a way. Whether that was me writing it or hiring a writer to help me complete the article just so I can get that byline.

Seth: Gotcha. I know real estate is not your main thing, but have you done real estate at all? Have you dabbled in buying properties or anything?

Jeff: My father-in-law back in the day, he did this on his own. There's this guy, and you might be familiar with him, I don’t know if he's still around. His name was Carlton Sheetz.

Seth: Oh yeah, I remember him.

Jeff: Okay. He had this infomercial and you could buy this 12-CD set, an audio CD to listen to all his secrets about real estate investing.

Seth: I think that was the first thing I ever bought off eBay. It was from the early 90s. It was just ancient by today's standards.

Jeff: Oh, yeah.

Seth: Yeah. I remember his commercials for sure.

Jeff: Oh yeah. So, my father-in-law bought it, and I don't even know why he bought it, but I remember he let me borrow it. And dude, I listened to all 12 audio CDs and I was all in. We had this master plan because he was really good at fixing things, building things. He kind of saw me as the money guy. We were going to do this partnership and we just started looking at properties and we were looking at HUD properties, made an offer on that. We unfortunately didn't get it. And I was driving all around southern Illinois. I was probably an advisor now for I guess three or four years. I think my fourth year of being an advisor. And I'd read “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” And I'm excited about these new exciting ways to build wealth.

And I remember somewhere in this process, I remember I went to a St. Louis Cardinal game with one of my best friends at the time, and I was boasting to him about how I was confident by the end of the year that I would have at least 12 real estate investment properties. That's how confident I was.

I'm laughing because I don't own any. I probably should have had more suspenseful build up, but I don't own any. We end up making this offer on a duplex and I was really excited like, “Oh, it was a good price.” I don't know what a good price is but I put an offer on it.

And I knew that my CPA was also heavily invested into real estate. And so, after I made the offer, he was willing to go to lunch with me and I showed him the property, showed him all the numbers and he was just like, “What are you doing? You know that I'm a real estate investor. Why would you not come talk to me before you make the offer? Because you are overpaying for this property. If the AC goes out, you're in the hole.” I don't remember how much it was, it was like $119,000 I think was the duplex.

Thankfully I was able to get out of the deal, didn't even lose my earnest money. Felt like a complete fool. Because I'm having to backtrack to the realtor and just look like a complete doofus. And I just remember thinking, “Okay, I'm spending a lot of time driving around trying to find properties. I obviously don't know what I'm doing.” I didn't feel confident in pursuing real estate anymore.

And I realized, “You know what, I've got a really good thing here going with the financial planning practice. I'm wasting so much time driving around when I could actually just spend more of that time reinvesting back into my business.” That was already making me good money.

I kind of just put all the real estate to the side and invested my time back into the business. And then the company I was working for ended up selling out, the brokerage firm sold, which is now Wells Fargo. They got swallowed by Wells Fargo. And that's when we end up leaving and going independent. And that's when I read the article about blogging.

And so, definitely, I needed to go through that experience of “Okay, real estate works wonders for a lot of people.” Obviously, it's worked very well for yourself and thousands of others, at least for that time in my life, it wasn't a good fit. And then I end up discovering another opportunity that helped me grow the financial planning practice and became a side hustle, which ended becoming my main hustle now to this day. The way I look at it is physical real estate didn't do so well, digital real estate, it worked out very well.

Seth: I guess it goes to show if you do want to pursue that kind of thing as an influencer, there's a lot of opportunity there if you can do that first crucial step of making a good viable platform.

Jeff: I was in this coaching program called the Strategic Coach. Dan Sullivan, he would call these strategic byproducts. And I think about your own real estate adventure, you don't know what you know until you put yourself out there. Then you start doing some research, you start making offers, you start connecting with other people, and all of a sudden, there are these opportunities that you didn't even know existed that literally fall in your lap just because you're willing to take a risk.

You hear a lot of people say, “Oh, they just got lucky.” It's like, no, it's because they took a risk. They put themselves out there, they made that phone call, they made that drive, they knocked on that door, they sent that text message. I got this text. I'm sure you've probably seen these. Somebody texted me, “Hey, I don't want to intrude, but I’m just curious if you might be selling your house.” It's one of those.

And it's like, “Okay, I don’t know who you are. I'm a little creeped out by the fact that you have my cell phone number.” That being said, I'm sure that they probably send out hundreds or thousands of these through some database or some CRM. And I'm sure they're getting a lot of comments, text messages back, like, “How did you get my number?” But nonetheless, they took a risk and they're willing to put themselves out there and it's doing little things like that. That's when opportunities and luck find you.

Seth: Yeah, yeah. For sure. Now your YouTube channel is called the Wealth Hacker. What are some of your favorite hacks that you've used or maybe some hacks that the average person might not know about? I know you talk about income accelerators and that kind of thing. What are those? Tell us about that.

Jeff: Yeah. There are five different income accelerators that I typically talk to. But looking back on my journey, when I think about accelerated learning, and I definitely came from a scarcity-broke mindset household. My dad, I don't think he even owned any investments. My mom, she owned some investments, but it was fixed annuities and life insurance stuff.

When I think about this through my own journey, when I saw the most growth, it's because I was willing to invest in myself. And it's so cliché. You hear that all the time. “You invest in yourself - You get the best ROI.” It's true, but what does that look like exactly?

In some of the little ways initially like accelerate learning, it's like picking up a book and reading a lot of business books. And I just started reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, going back to Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Just books like this that I was just very curious.

I was curious to understand how people are growing businesses, how people are building wealth, because that was something I was not exposed to. In addition to that, that was also like just listening to podcasts and going to conferences, buying online courses, investing. Looking at me getting the CFP designation. I looked at that as like, “Oh, I just wanted to like look like I was legit.” But also, too, I learned a lot just by going through that process.

That's one way and an easy way. Because when you talk about investing in yourself, a lot of people are like, “Man, I'm broke. I don't have any money.” It's like, “Well, how much does it cost to buy a book?” If you want to go to the library or buy it off used off Amazon. There are ways that you can learn. Podcasts, I'll semi-check, you can download a lot of podcasts and not have to pay anything. That's one way.

Another way, when I think about the largest investments where I've got some of the best return, it wasn't like me buying some stock or mutual fund. Two examples I'd like to share. One, and this was a big deal back time. Last time you and I had a call, you mentioned how much you spent on your website design. And there was a time if you would've told yourself five years ago how much you are going to spend on a website design, you probably would've puked on yourself.

Seth: For sure. Absolutely.

Jeff: And I remember because on my first website I think I spent like $500. And that's what I had for a couple years. And then I paid somebody to give me some sort of custom header. And that was another $500. And that's what I had for the first couple years.

And going to a conference, I ended up sitting next to these guys that were going to the same conference. They were graphic designers, had their own agency. And I ended up deciding to work with them and they gave me a quote where they were going to give me a brand-new web design and it was like $8,000. And at that time, prior to that, I remember in college I drove a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am red four-door with a spoiler.

Seth: Yeah. I remember those.

Jeff: And then after that, I drove my grandmother's 1998 Chevy Lumina that I inherited when she passed away.

Seth: I remember those two.

Jeff: Which I ended up selling. And I sold both of those for around, I think it was like $6,500, maybe $7,500. In my brain, kind of like the whole scarcity-broke mindset. I'm like, “Wait, you want me to pay $8,000, which is $500 to $1,000 more than the two cars that I drove?” It was just really hard for me. I was really excited, though. I really wanted to do it, but it just felt like this just doesn't feel right. And I remember my wife, praise her for actually giving me the go ahead.

I had written a book called Soldier of Finance and it was getting ready to come out in the next few months. The thought was like, “Man, if I have a book that's getting ready to publish, I want a website that looks like I'm legit.” We pulled the trigger and I end up spending $8,000 on this website design.

And one of the coolest things happened. Within 90 days of spending that money because of the affiliate promotion, all the ads that we had on the site, I made all that money back within, I think it was less than 90 days.

Seth: Wow. That's awesome.

Jeff: It was the quickest return on investment I think I'd ever seen on anything for that matter. I was just blown away.

Seth: Yeah.

Jeff: If you don't mind, I'd like to share another one because I think it's something that it's hard for a lot of people to understand, especially when you start thinking about investing in yourself, and that is hiring, whether it be a coach, a consultant, a mentor, maybe paying for a mastermind group. Because sometimes, for me at least with a website design, at least I can kind of see what it is. I can't hold it. I can't put it in my pocket, but at least I can go online and see what I got. But when it comes to coaching or consulting, it's hard because you're not getting anything tangible. You're not going to the mailbox and waiting for that package to arrive.

Another major investment, this would've been probably a year after all this, was hiring or paying for a coaching program. I briefly mentioned I was in Strategic Coach for five years, but the very first time, whenever I was introduced to it, I think it was about the same price. It was like $8,000 to do this coaching program.

And prior to that, I'd never even thought about hiring a coach. I just knew that I was at a stage in my business where I just felt stuck and I just felt like I needed something. I just didn't know what it was. And I knew that the guy had hired me as a junior broker back in the day. He told me once that he'd hired a business coach. And remember when I heard that in my first year, year or two of being a financial planner, it didn't make sense to me. “You hire a business coach, to do what?” I get hiring a basketball coach or a fitness coach, but a business coach?

I ended up calling him, “Hey man, you told me you hired a business coach. Can you just tell me what were you thinking? What was the angle behind it?” And he's like, “Man, it helped me think about my thinking, getting more clear on what I wanted to accomplish. And it just really helped.” I heard that, I'm like, “Okay, I'm in, I'm going to do it.”

I paid this $8,000. I did it for a year and this was me going to four sessions for the entire year. I go up to Chicago one day every quarter. In addition to that, I got to talk to a program advisor once a quarter. And that's what I got for $8,000. And what I love sharing about the story is because I did it for a year and I'll ask you, how much do you think my income increased after doing that for a year?

Seth: Oh man. I don't know. 10%. Let's go with that.

Jeff: It didn't go up at all. I was completely flat.

Seth: Okay. That was my second guess.

Jeff: If I was flat, technically I lost money because I spent $8,000 and I didn't make any more money than I had the year before. What had happened during this entire year was they were introducing me to different ways to approach business, different ways to approach life, and really rewiring just my mindset on all these different things. And I'm kind of stubborn when it comes to change. I fought a lot of them. I incorporated some, but I fought a lot of it. That first year really was just like rewiring how I was thinking, how I approach things.

Fast forward, I signed up for another year because somebody told me that had done this program before, if you're going to do it, do it for at least three years. Do it for three, don't just do it for a year. So, I signed up again for the second year, another $8,000, signed up again for the third year, $8,000. So now I've got $24,000 into it, not including hotels, travel, and everything else.

When I started, I was making about $250,000 a year. After year one, still making $250,000. By the end of the third year, I won't ask you, I'll just go ahead and tell you. By the end of the third year, my revenue had almost tripled.

Seth: Wow, man. Crazy.

Jeff: I think it was $730,000 by the end of that third year.

Seth: And what happened exactly? That's a big jump in one year.

Jeff: It was a huge jump. And what ended up happening was I understood delegating, outsourcing. At least I thought I did. All I can tell you is that what I learned a lot was understanding what my unique ability was. And your unique ability is to find what is your God-given talent that you flourish in that gives you energy that you could do all day every day, but most importantly you get paid a lot of money to do it. And that was one of the key principles of this program, was identifying what is your unique ability and then fighting like hell to stay in that realm as often as you can. That meant I had to start removing a lot of different tasks, a lot of responsibilities, a lot of things.

Because this is really funny. Prior to that, I was the one that was scheduling appointments with my clients. I don't know why I was doing it. That's what I started with. And so, finally realizing, “Man, when you call a doctor's office to schedule an appointment, you're not talking to the doctor. You're talking to the receptionist.” I hadn't even hired. During that process, I finally hired an office manager. I started hiring key people for the site. That's when I brought on a business partner that understood SEO more than I did and really let go of a lot of things that I felt that I needed to have control in. That was hard.

Seth: Oh, I'm sure.

Jeff: But then that freed up so much time that I could focus my creative energy on the things that I cared about.

Seth: I was just going to ask, in the order of priority, to figure out which things to start outsourcing first? Was it based on the things that you hated doing the most or was it based on some other rationale behind that?

Jeff: Yeah, there's a couple different ways. One of the ways they challenged you was write down everything that you do throughout your day. Make a list, make an inventory. Just write down. You do something, just have a little piece of paper on your desk and just jot it down real quick. Then look at all these things that you're doing and then ask yourself, “Is this what the CEO should be doing?” If you're the CEO of a company, if you want to use, “Would Elon Musk be doing this? Would Jeff Bezos be doing this?” That was one way.

Another way is if you find yourself in the middle of doing something and you hate life, if you want to kick your dog, yell at your spouse, then there's a good chance that this is not your unique ability. And this is where you start working towards hiring somebody, outsourcing, delegating, or just removing it. Is this something that you even need to do anymore? Is it something you've just been doing all along just because you thought you needed to do? You just start asking and having to answer a lot of tough questions like that.

Another big piece, which I kind of forget, I get really excited about this. There's this personality test and there's several out there. The one that they were really big on is the Kolbe Index. And I believe that the lady that created it, I believe that her grandfather or a relative is the one that created the IQ test. A little fun fact for you.

The Kolbe basically is a personality test. You get four numbers and all it shares with you is you might already know this, but it just basically shows like this is how you are wired. This is just who you are. And I'm probably going to forget all four quadrants, but it's either, quick start research systems builder and also follow-through. Meaning that you get stuff done.

When I took this personality test, the Kolbe Index, it basically just validated I love new ideas. So, I'm a high quick start. I suffer from shiny object syndrome. “Oh, new idea. That's awesome.” I also am a high researcher. I just want to know, and this is actually paid off well as a financial planner because when a client would come in or a prospect would come in, I would want to know everything about their situation. I want to know everything about their investments. And if I was proposing anything, I wanted to make sure that I could answer every single question that they had.

High fact finder, high researcher. What I was low in is follow-through. I'm the guy that gets a lot of ideas, but when it actually starts to implement these ideas, when it actually turns into work, I'm like, “Oh crap, this sucks.” And that doesn't mean that I can't push through and get it done because I do, but definitely in those times where I had a lot of projects where I'd get like 60% done, 70% done, and then I would go and start something else. And I might come back and finish it or it would just sit there and not get finished.

So, when I started hiring people, this is one of those things you could do with HR. To avoid HR conflicts, you could take the personality test. So, my first office manager I hired, they were high follow-through, high on building systems, low quick starts. Research, that was probably good.

Basically, what I'm sharing is I learned how I was wired and I could see it for what it was. Because one of the things I would get into trouble with being a high quick start is Seth gives me a call and has this great business idea and opportunity. I really like Seth, this sounds great. Yes, I'm going to do it. I am in. Without asking a lot of qualifying questions like “How much time is this going to take? What do you need from me? How much money will this take? Is there any other question?” Just stuff like that. I would just get so excited that I would often say yes to a lot of things and then realize, “Ah, crap. I over-committed myself.” So, I had to go back and backtrack and just say, “I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said yes.”

I've just learned through all this, when a great amazing opportunity comes up, I'm like, “Man, thank you for bringing this to me. Sounds awesome. Let me think about it and I'll get back to you. Let me think about it.” And that is me just reminding myself, “What am I working on right now? What are my current goals? What are my current obligations?” A lot of time in prayer I’m like, “All right, God, show me. Does this make sense for me right now?”

Basically, just to hit pause, tap on the brakes just a little bit before I get hit myself in the situation. It still happens. There are still times I find myself, but compared to how it used to be, oh man, it was impossible for me to say no. “No”- That was death.

These are some of the things that I've learned by investing in myself. When you understand how you're wired, how you operate, it's just a way that you talk about accelerating your income because you're not finding yourself in a situation you shouldn't be in and you're putting yourself in situations that are going to set yourself best for success.

Seth: Yeah. That Kolbe, it's very insightful. It's probably worth everybody taking that at some point just to note themselves a little bit better. But I know a cool thing that they have if you're an employer is you can set up a profile for the person you're hiring. I know that this person will need to be good at this. So, you sort of create the picture-perfect image of, if they could be perfect, they would look like this and then have them take it and it'll actually give them like a letter grade based on how close they came. They scored to A or a B or a C or they failed. Do not hire them for this if that's really what you need. And I just thought that was a creative way to use it backwards or however you want to say that for somebody else that you're hiring.

Jeff: Yeah, that helped out so much. Everybody I hired they always did the Kolbe. Even though I've had some bad partnerships, but initially, I had them take the Kolbe just so I could understand how they were wired. When they came to me with this amazing idea, I'm like, “Oh, wait, I'm talking to myself right now.” This sounds really good but recognizing that they're a high quick start like myself, they can get easily excited. So, helping me kind of reset my expectations on certain things. It's just helped so much.

Seth: Yeah. Do you know who Perry Marshall is?

Jeff: 80/20?

Seth: Yes. 80/20 Sales and Marketing.

Jeff: Yeah.

Seth: We had him on the podcast a couple years ago and he's got a similar thing to the Kolbe test, but it's called the Marketing DNA test, where it's a very similar process. Even the output looks pretty similar, but it's focused on marketing. Who are you as a marketer? Are you the kind of person who can just get up in front of a stage and wing it and it's going to come out great? Or are you the kind of person who you need to prepare and really think it through and just practice again and again and then get up on stage? And because you've practiced so much, it's going to be even better than a person who's good at winging it. Just kind of understanding where do you excel in different ways, but that's another good one that at least from the marketing angle, it's good to understand who you are.

As somebody who talks a lot about personal finance and investing and that kind of thing, I saw an interesting video on your channel. I think it was something about how to invest $500. It was a few years ago, but it got me thinking about this idea of starting with a small amount of money. Say if you just literally don't have much money. Say you are a broke college kid, or something like that. Or maybe if it was $1,000 or even $5,000. I'm wondering if you had to start over today, if everything was taken away from you and you had very little money, like what would you do to recreate what you've got today?

Jeff: That's a great question. I think that would be a few different things, but I think all kind of the same umbrella. Because obviously, investing, for me, buying stocks, even buying crypto. Yes, you can make money, it's just going to take a little bit of time unless you just go super risky, which I wouldn't ever suggest.

Seth: So, to me it’s like what can I build? What sort of asset can I build? Obviously real estate could be another thing to explore, something that I'm just not comfortable. So, in my own experience, it would be creating some sort of online brand. Basically, another website, authority website, picking a niche that I just felt passionate about, that I could speak with confidence.

The question I get sometimes is, “Would you do a blog or do a YouTube channel if you were to start fresh?” And if I was comfortable with video, I would choose YouTube first. I would want to have my own sites that you can drive people back from, because the YouTube algorithm can be great at times and it can be gnarly at times.

But the one thing that I've learned, just one of these funny things, because I had been blogging for almost 10 years, I’m a certified financial planner, been featured in all these big media sites. And then when I started taking YouTube seriously, I started getting comments from people that were discovering me for the first time. And the fact that I could put myself on video and talk like I knew what I was talking about, that was more of an authority than me being a CFP and being featured on CNBC and Forbes, all because I recorded a YouTube video.

It will definitely give you a lot of authority, which it's still funny to me, but there's just something about somebody that can actually put themselves in front of a camera and speak about a topic that they sound like they know what the heck they're talking about.

So, that’s what I would do if I had a little bit of money. You don't have to buy a fancy camera. If you’ve got a newer iPhone, the video quality is good, you can watch Mr. Beast, some of his original videos, not when he was like a teenager, but even when he was bigger, I was thinking he was using some of these expensive DSLR cameras. I've got this $4,000 camera over here, this Canon, I don't even know what it is.

And I remember seeing the cameras that he was using and I'm like, “Wait, that's like a Canon $400 point shoot camera. That's what you're using for these videos that are getting millions of views?” Because as long as it's good video quality and decent audio, but you have a good message, a message that either encourages people, that shows somebody how to do something, how to accelerate their learning, how to get past an obstacle, whatever that may be, when you start helping people break through their own personal barriers, that's when you start to see results and build trust and build authority.

Seth: Yeah. Your answer doesn't surprise me. And I think mine would be similar in that. Really what I would do if I was in that situation, if everything was taken away, I had to build it all back. The way that I would do it is with what's in my head. It's not so much the resources I have right on my fingertips. It's more just understanding, “Oh yeah, okay, I've learned how to build this kind of business. Let's start over again and do a similar thing.” And maybe the times have changed since back when I first started it, but I could relearn that kind of thing. But just having that kind of education and experience, it's cool how the assets in your brain are assets that people can't really take away from you.

And that's kind of going back to your earlier point about how much does it really cost to get a book and educate yourself? Go out there and knock on a door. Take the risk, do the thing that's hard to do because you will learn something through every little experience you have. Even if it's miserable, even if you don't win in that situation, you're still building your own mental library of how the world works and how to get ahead.

At the end of most of our interviews that we do, if we have time, I like to ask three final questions just to learn a little bit more about our guest. It's kind of different than the earliest stuff we talked about. But the first question is, what is your biggest fear?

Jeff: Wow.

Seth: These are kind of big heart-hitting questions, by the way. So, if you need a minute to think about it.

Jeff: Yeah. Having four kids and my oldest being 15 now, I think one of the biggest fears I have is did I invest enough time with them while they were underneath our roof in our house? Did I do a good enough job letting them know about what they need to know to be successful human beings? That's something that I think about a lot, I pray about a lot.

And one of the ways I just kind of get myself, because I look back and there was just a time in my life where I came from divorced parents and I can look back and I don't think that I knew what unconditional love was. Initially when my kids were younger, my oldest son, man, I feel so bad for him because I was the dad that was a lot of passive-aggressive. I was the one that I used to yell at sporting events when they didn't do something right. I was just that dad. And then it wasn't until he got probably in seventh or eighth grade where I finally kind of had that reveal of, “Oh crap, I don't want to be that kind of dad.” Actually, when I became an assistant coach on one of his baseball teams and I could hear the other parents yelling at their kids and I'm thinking like, “When you're yelling at your kid because he didn't catch a fly ball, I promise you your kid was doing the best that he could. That child did not drop that ball on purpose to piss you off.” But gosh, I was that dad, man.

And so, I'm thankful that I can see how I was. My middle son, he's 12. He's my basketball player. He's got a new coach and I asked him, “So, who is your meanest coach?” He's like, “You were.” And I was like, “Are you…? Oh yeah, you're right. Okay.” There was that one year that I was not a happy coach. I was coaching both my boys and that's the most I've ever yelled in my life. And complete transformation. Anyway, that is my biggest fear of not investing enough in them to give them the tools they need to succeed in their own lives.

Seth: Yeah. Fear, it's kind of a funny thing. A lot of people say “Fear is a liar. Don't live your life under fear.” And this kind of thing. But fear is kind of like cynicism or skepticism or other negative energy kind of thoughts where it is useful to a point if it gets you to change your behavior or reform your ways or improve yourself in some way.

It sounds like you have this reflective quality where you can look at yourself and be like “I want to make the most of this time, so I'm going to do what I have to do to make that true.” Whereas there are other fears that are just totally counterproductive, like fearing just irrational stuff. It's never going to happen and it just brings anxiety into your life. But anyway, I think I need to work on that in my life. I have a lot of irrational fears.

What are you most proud of?

Jeff: I am most proud in the self-discovery of the things that I didn't do a very good job at as being a parent, like the yelling and in really giving my kids a space to share their feelings in a way that felt safe. That's something that I really struggled with years ago. And now, I'm just really proud that my oldest son, he had some anxiety, some social triggered type stuff, dealing with some hardships at school. And he came to both his mom and I and shared how he was feeling. And it was some feelings that, man, with anxiety and depression, it scared us. It really scared us. And at the end of it, when we had a chance to kind of share it with other people, kind of download it, we realized, “Wow, what a gift that he felt safe enough to come to mom and dad and share how he was feeling.”

Because everybody we shared the story with, typically we would hear how awesome that he was able to tell you that. Because when I was a kid, now, I felt the exact same way, but I never could tell that to my mom and dad. Seeing that and seeing my oldest son, seeing my daughter, I just love when my daughter says, “I'm feeling really sad because you da da da da da.” Me and my wife, we do couples counseling. I've had a lot of personal therapy just through some stuff I had to work through some trauma as a kid. So, we have a lot of therapy words in the house.

When my kids can clearly articulate how they're feeling, it's refreshing as opposed to the passive-aggressive type comments that I was guilty of. And now if that type of comment comes out from my mouth, my kids pick up on it pretty quick. And my oldest, I remember one time I was upset because he didn't take out the trash or something like that. And I'm like, “Dude, you didn't take out the trash.” He's like, “You didn't ask me.” It's true. I didn't. It was overflowing, though, and you could have seen it, but no, you're right. I had an expectation that you would. So, it was just having that healthy conversation. He called me out. He was like, “I'll do it. You didn't ask me.” Like “Crap. You're right. I didn't.” I'm proud of how far I've come and how my kids could be very open.

Seth: It sounds like therapy or counseling or whatever you went through, has that been pretty helpful to you in life? Just being able to identify, I don't know, flaws in your head and your thinking and how to restructure, reframe things?

Jeff: Oh my gosh, yeah. I've fought it for a long time. As I mentioned, I was in the military, I was deployed to Iraq back in 2005 and they really suggested if you think you need help, go to therapy, get help. And for many of us, many soldiers are like, “Nah, we're just too proud, too manly to need help.”

But my wife and I, that first three months of me being home, oh man, we were not doing good at all. I didn't know if we were going to make it. We ended up going into couples counseling. I think I did some individual therapy just to process some of the trauma. And turns out it wasn't just from being deployed. It was like stuff from my childhood. Learning about myself, learning about my wife's history, her childhood, and some stuff she had to deal with and then going forward.

Just because when I started to recognize and my wife recognized, man, there's just some unhealthy behaviors, just the way that I was approaching things. When my kid didn't pick up his room, I had rage, I'd get angry, and I'd get angry really quick. And luckily, I had people that could speak truth in my life and just hearing, “Okay, yeah, I guess you're right. That's not really worth getting angry over that.

Willing to be vulnerable to invest the time, the money into doing individual therapy, also doing couples counseling, I was able to recognize, “Man, there was just some stuff from my childhood that I had never addressed because I didn't know how to.” As I mentioned, my parents divorced when I was young and just that alone is traumatic.

I learned that trauma is trauma. Everybody has their own trauma. Everybody has their own experiences. And allowing yourself to recognize, “Yeah, that was hard.” My parents split up. I was in California. My dad moved back to Midwest Illinois. I was three or four years old flying on an airplane from LA to Illinois by myself.

Seth: Man, that's crazy.

Jeff: When I think about it, I have a seven-year-old. I wouldn't even let her do that right now. I was three or four years old. I don't remember a lot of things from my childhood, but I remember that and I remember being scared out of my what. And there was just a lot of that stuff that it's funny because as a kid, you didn't know how to process that. I'm just sitting there talking to a flight attendant. But I didn't cry. There was no point to crying. There was no one there to console me.

Doing all this work is recognizing, “Man, there was a lot of fear, a lot of sadness and grief that I never gave myself permission to process.” Doing all this work has just freed up a lot that I was holding onto. It's been hard. It's been really hard, but 100% worth it because now my kids get to experience a healthier version of me, which you talk about generational wealth. The stuff that I get to give them now, that my wife gets to give them that we didn't get from our parents. Now they get to give that to their kids and people in their life. That's the stuff that I get goosebumps on.

Seth: Yeah. It's interesting because those kinds of issues can kind of affect generation after generation if they're not like identified and addressed. Sometimes it might be like, I don't know, alcohol addiction. Other times it might just be toxic behavior or just abuse or something like that. You name it. But when you think of how many generations that kind of thing can go on.

A friend of mine, he used to be a really bad alcoholic. Not just drinking too much, but all the negative behaviors you can imagine going with it. He was able to kick it and he's been sober for a number of years now, but I was like, man, just think of how your kids' lives are going to be different, their kids' lives are probably going to be different and then their kids like. Think of the hundreds of people into the future whose lives would be different because you did the hard work of fixing that issue that was just going to go generation to generation to generation. And you've stopped it. That's a huge accomplishment.

Jeff: I'm excited about it.

Seth: Yeah.

Last question. Let's pretend for a moment that you just got a hundred million wired to your bank account and you're not allowed to stay on your current career path. So, you can't do blogging, YouTubing, podcasting, financial planning. You're not allowed to do any of that. What do you want to do for the rest of your life?

Jeff: I'd probably do something in… I don't know if it'd be like counseling or therapy or helping couples or helping families. Our daughter, our youngest daughter, she's actually adopted. Helping people through that adoption process, coaching them, and helping them. Something like that. I've learned a lot just through my own therapy and I didn't mention my youngest son. He's had some behavioral stuff that he's gone through a lot of therapy and we learned a lot through his whole process as well. And what my wife and I have learned through all of this is that when we've shared a lot of this with other parents, a lot of parents are just clueless about all this stuff.

Seth: Yeah, I can see that.

Jeff: You don't know what you don't know. I feel like if somebody wired me a hundred million dollars, I'm doing everything I can to educate parents, families on what they need to be successful. Just to have that nurturing, unconditional love, just pouring out of their house. That's where I would go towards.

Seth: Yeah. Awesome. Sounds good, man. So, if people want to find out more about you, follow you online, check out your website, any of that, where should they go? What should they do?

Jeff: Yeah. Good Financial Cents. That is the blog. The YouTube channel Wealth Hacker, which you mentioned. I'm also mostly active on Twitter and Instagram. Mostly Twitter actually - @jjeffrose. You can hit me up there. So, you can check me out on all those fun places.

Seth: And I will link to all that stuff in the show notes, which you can find at retipster.com/147 because this episode is 147.

Jeff, thanks again for chatting with me. It's been awesome to get to know you a little bit better and I hope we will talk again soon.

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Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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