Today we’re tackling the world of multiple income streams. No, we’re not talking about multi-level marketing, we’re talking about how to make your business safer.
Mark Podolsky from thelandgeek.com. Mark is going to help us understand why having multiple streams of income is important and why you need to have more than one income source to protect yourself against a downturn in the economy or your industry.
I can tell you from personal experience that this is information you’re going to want to have. There has been more than one time in my life where I was very glad I had developed more than one income source in my business. In fact, having more than one source of income has prevented me from having several economic disasters.
In today’s podcast you’ll learn:
- What multiple sources of income is.
- How you can develop multiple income sources
- Why the more different income sources you have (too a point) the safer your economic future is.
- How multiple sources of income and operational irrelevance are tied together.
- What my really lazy system is for documenting processes you’ll need for multiple income sources.
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business.
My guest today is Mark Podolsky. Mark is a land geek which means he probably hangs around with land a lot which is, I guess, something some people do and he’s obviously one of them. But we’re not going to really talk much about land geeks or real estate investing, although we may do there. We’re going to start off talking about expanding your business to multiple revenue streams which seems to be a really good topic if you want to create a sustainable business. So instead of me wandering around about Mark and we’ll find more about him as we go through the podcast today, let’s bring Mark on.
Hey, Mark how are you today?
Mark: Josh Patrick, I’m great. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Josh: Yeah. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for coming.
So first of all, let’s define multiple revenue streams.
Mark: So multiple revenue streams means that you’re generating income from multiple sources. So, you know, let’s just take you for example. You might have a company, right? You might be monetizing the podcast. You might have a coaching program. Right there, in and of itself, are three multiple income streams. You may have a mastermind group. That will be your fourth income stream. You might actually have an affiliate program, that would be your fifth income stream. And the nice thing about multiple income streams is that if one of the business segments has a slow down or a collapse you are protected, right?
And I used to work with dentists and that’s where I learned the concept of solo economic dependency which means if you’re not working, you’re not making any money. And that’s a really risky position to be in. So for anyone that has a job, or is a doctor, or a lawyer, or some type of a professional and that is their only source of income, they’re at some risk.
Josh: That’s true.
So what you’re really describing is multiple sources of income are multiple product lines that you might be working within?
Josh: For example, I used to be in the food service and vending business and we had probably 12 or 13 multiple product lines that we were working with which was maybe too many but it did protect us to a bit from that sort of thing. So if I’m in business— and you just said a whole bunch of online multiple revenue streams, and most of the folks listening to this podcast don’t run online businesses, they run relatively traditional businesses. So what might they be thinking about, when it comes to multiple revenue streams? And what are some of the challenges and road blocks that keep people from doing it?
Mark: Well, I think, depending on the business that you’re in, right? If you have a traditional business and– let’s say that you’re a manufacturing company—
Josh: Let’s go into your industry. Let’s say you sell real estate.
Mark: Okay. So you sell real estate, right? So, essentially, you are at risk depending on what happens. There’s only so many things you can control in real estate, right? And if you don’t have a multiple source of income, then when that real estate market goes down inevitably then you’re going to be at risk.
So I think the challenge for a lot of people is to sort of go through the mental model of, “If everything’s going to change, what’s not going to change?” Right? And then kind of starting from maybe that question or a variety of questions, “What I do really well? Where can I add more value and create another revenue stream from there?” Once you sort of ask those questions, then I think the big roadblock is taking action because, you know, it’s a lot more work than you initially think.
Josh: That I can tell you for a fact.
But lets’ go back to our real estate. We’ll use real estate for a while as an example, okay?
Josh: Although I don’t know any real estate people that actually listen to this podcast but we all know about real estate. So I’m a real estate agent and I’m working 50 to 60 hours a week selling real estate and getting listings. So would getting listings and selling property or selling houses be two different multiple revenue streams?
Mark: That’s one revenue stream because, as a real estate agent, to get the listing, you can’t then sell the house. So as a real estate agent your multiple revenue stream might be consulting, right?
Josh: Who would you consult with?
Mark: So you would say, “Hey, look, I’ve got a system. I know how to get listings at a million to $2 million in this area. And I can teach you or other real estate agents how to do that,” right? So now you have a revenue stream, as a real estate agent. But you have a second additional revenue stream as somebody that’s an expert in their niche at getting listings at a million to 2 million.
Josh: Okay. So let’s say I am an expert and that puts you already at the top of the world of real estate if you can actually do that. But let’s say I can do that, it’s going to take time away from what I’m doing which is getting those listings at a million to $2 million to set up this other business. Yeah, I get the safety thing and I understand that but, frankly, I’m having too much fun in making way too much money just getting listings for that type of property because, frankly, once I get the listing, somebody else sells it and I don’t really do much work.
Mark: Yeah. So in that scenario, that’s a really good scenario to be in, right?
Mark: You’re having fun. You’re making a lot of money. And then, if it was me, I probably wouldn’t do it, right? So at some point, you have to be in some type of pain to actually—
Mark: –be motivated enough to do it.
Mark: Now, if you are the pig that wants to build their house full of bricks and not ready to go through any pain—
Mark: –then I would think that you’d want to go through that exercise even though you’re comfortable. Things are going well. You’re having fun. And you would actually have to force yourself to go through the pain and think to yourself years out, “What happens if this all goes away?” And have that multiple source of income.
Now, again, what I think, what you brought up was really interesting was the focus, right?
Mark: Why would you ever want to take your eye off the ball, of something that’s super profitable, going really well. You’re having a lot of fun with. And do another stream of income. It makes no sense, right?
Josh: Well, actually— well, to most people it’d make no sense. I will agree with that.
Mark: It would make no sense. And so, I think that the person and that– again, there’s a great book by Andy Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive.
Josh: Actually, I was just about to quote that title [laughs].
Mark: You have to be paranoid.
Mark: And so, with that paranoia, that will fuel you to start creating additional sources of income.
Now, again, they can be passive, right? So my land investing business, I work two hours a week in that business, right? Now, it took five years to create the systems and automation, to have that luxury of working two hours a week. But still, I took that time and did it. And so, now, I have that luxury. But I was paranoid.
Josh: Okay. So let’s talk about that for a second because that’s probably pretty interesting to our folks here. You probably don’t know this but one of the five areas of business sustainability is having great systems.
Josh: And what was the path that you took where you decided, “Gee, I need to systematize my business because—” whatever reason you came up with for doing that. What was the road that you went down when you started to systematize?
Mark: You know, it really was something that I fought tooth and nail on. I did not enjoy letting go at all. I had a mentor who said—
Mark: –“Mark, you are never going to grow—
Mark: –you need to do this. You will never have the freedom and flexibility of what you want in lifestyle if you don’t start to let go and you don’t start building systems.” He’s like, “You have a choice. You can continue to going down the road you’re on and eventually you could burn out and eventually you’re not going to grow and you’re going to be stuck. Or let me help you help yourself.” And so, it took another person to look at my business with analytical eyes, who was not emotional, and said, “You need to do this.” And it took me five years of very systematically going through every aspect of my business and getting out of it.
Josh: So what was preventing you from letting go?
Mark: Fear. I think the fear of “No one’s going to be able to do this better than me. I’ve been doing this for so long.” That was number one. Number two was control. “What if this person takes advantage of me? What if they do a bad job? What about reputation risk? What if I lose money?” And so, I think a lot of those fear that, you know, you don’t realize as you start building and growing systems that the people that are working those systems really want to do a good job for you if you create that culture, right?
They don’t want to take advantage of you. They want to do a good job and they want to get paid. And they want to actually be involved in a purpose or a mission in a company that’s bigger than themselves. And that would light them up. And then so, once I figured that out, it was pretty fun to actually start building systems.
Josh: Okay. So how many of those fears that you had actually came to be real?
Mark: Not one.
Josh: Okay [laughs]. So what does that say about fear, in general?
Mark: Well, I think fear is really worse in your head and what you create in your head than reality.
Josh: Yeah. Tony Robbins has a great saying around fear which is one of the things I like. Tony comes up with these things a lot and I like— and his definition of fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Mark: Yeah, I like that, False Evidence Appearing Real.
Josh: Which I actually think is, most of the time, pretty true. I mean, one of the things that I find is that the reason people don’t let go is an intolerance for mistakes, is one. And, two, is a lack of trust in other people.
Josh: And the intolerance for mistakes, I think, is an important deal. And the reason I think it’s an important deal is because there’s actually two types of mistakes. There are mistakes you can’t afford to make and those are really, really, really, really, really rare.
Josh: And then there are mistakes that are just bumps on the road. And that’s about 99.9% of the mistakes you’re ever going to make.
Josh: So if you actually sit down and say, “Okay, if I really don’t want someone to put me out of business,“ you need to be able to say, “What are the risks that could kill my business, or kill my financial life, or make me really unhappy?” versus, “which are the mistakes that “Okay, well, we can learn something from that.”
Josh: So that’s just my— you know, I always have to go through this every time I have a guest and we get into this because, again, one of the things of sustainability is you have to create operational irrelevance.
Mark: Say that again, operational irrelevance?
Josh: Operational irrelevance.
Mark: What does that mean?
Josh: That means you are not part of the business from an operational point of view, at all.
Mark: I love that.
Okay, so I’m trying today to be completely operationally irrelevant. And oftentimes it’s only the most important thing like— it’s like, “Mark approve this deal,” right?
Mark: And I disapprove it. Or look at this numbers, or it’s just an issue that they’ve never dealt with and they’ll come to me. But other than that, I feel like I’m fairly operationally irrelevant.
Now, I did create a software company. It’s a startup. And in that business, I’m armed forced to be operationally irrelevant because I don’t code. So, in a sense, like that was like the greatest business to make you let go, is when you go into a business like you can’t do yourself.
Josh: Well, you actually may be more operationally irrelevant than you think you are just because– although you can’t code, that’s just a piece of the business. What about the marketing part of the business? What about the sales part of the business? What about the systems part of the business?
Mark: Right. So that’s all automated. So what we do is we take one piece of content. And then we, certainly, repurpose it and do that. We have a funnel that we created that’s automated. And, in that sense, that was like the best business for me because I started off thinking about, “How do I become operationally irrelevant and set up that marketing system from day one? And then the sales system, from day one, using all the tools and all the knowledge I had from my other two businesses–
Mark: –where I wasn’t operationally irrelevant.
So once you learn what the game is, you tend to be able to go down that road and do it more often.
Josh: Which has been my experience, is that the first time you learn how to do this stuff it’s really hard to do it. You’re going to make eight zillion mistakes. You’re probably going to want to give up a few thousand times. And then you finally figure it out.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that software, there’s not a day that goes by, I think to myself, “Why am I doing this?” Right? Compared to the other two businesses, it doesn’t move the needle at all.
And let me go back to the beginning of our conversation, “Why on Earth would I take my eye off those two balls and focus on this? It makes no logical sense except for the fact that I’m paranoid and I want his multiple income stream that I think will— eventually, if I slowly build it up and do a nice job and create value, I’ll have some enterprise value 10 years from now. And we’ll have something really valuable eventually to sell.
So when you started your business, what was the biggest challenged you were facing when it came to actually getting yourself out of the way of the business?
Mark: Basically, the order of things getting out. Because those were the things I really enjoyed doing in the business and there are things that I couldn’t stand doing in the business. And then figuring out, “Well, which one of these is going to have the greatest impact, as I step away?”
And, for me, I was lucky because the thing that I really enjoyed doing was sales. So I let go of that last. And I think that was smart because it allowed me to continue doing what I like and still see the growth of the business based on my own efforts and sort of know like, “Okay, that could be the last piece I can let go off as it frees me up to have more and more. Like, I could just see it. Like oh my gosh, instead of five sales this week, I got 10 sales because I have more time because I got rid of a lot of the operational pieces that I was spending so much time on.
Josh: And I’m just going to make a guess. And you can tell me if I’m right or not. You’re way better at sales than all the stuff you let go.
Mark: Way better.
So, one of the things I think is really important. And what we’re talking about is the art of delegation. And one of the things that’s really important to figure out when you’re delegating is, if it’s something you don’t like, it means you’re probably not very good at it.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely.
Josh: Or you’ve gotten good at it through brute force and you still don’t like it.
Josh: And if you’re doing brute force, it means you’re on the road to burnout.
Josh: I will tell you that the vast majority of the people that walk in my office and want me to help them figure out whether they can sell their business or not is because they’ve been doing things reasonably well that they don’t have a lot of good ability to do but they’re just sick of doing it and they can’t do it anymore. And they want to get out of their business.
Mark: Right. Right.
Josh: So— wait, when you’re learning to delegate, this is a sort of chicken and the egg question. So I’m curious on your answer on this. Is it more important to learn how to trust other people? Is it more important to learn how to tolerate mistakes? Or is it more important to work on systems?
Mark: I think that’s a really interesting question. And I’d love to know what your answer is. I think, for me personally, once I was able to get through my own fear of the people piece, I think I was able to really focus on creating a bulletproof system that was so solid and so simple to execute that it didn’t matter who was executing it at that point.
Josh: Ah, you just hit on something that’s really important when you’re systematizing and that’s keeping it simple. So first you had to learn how to trust your people. And once you learned how to do that, then it was time to start working on systems.
Josh: Yeah. I would say that’s probably the right order by the way.
Mark: Right. So, for me, two is one, one is none. Right?
Mark: So I always would want to have that backup person already waiting in the wings to be trained on that system, if that one person I’m depending on goes away, for whatever reason.
Josh: So who documents your systems in your company?
Mark: So the way that we do it is, I will create a video of my system. And then we’ll get it transcribed.
Mark: And then we’ll basically break it down using software. Like I’ll use a program called Clarify. So it’ll have the video, it’ll have screenshots, it’ll have text.
Mark: And then I’ll take that system and I will do a litmus test with my 13-year-old daughter. And I will say to her, “Read this and ask me questions about it. What do you not understand?” And then I’ll go back and I will edit. And I will do it again. And then I’ll go back to her and say, “Ella, what questions do you have about this system now that you don’t understand?” And then I will go aback again and I will edit. And by the third or fourth edit and she says, “I get it.” Then we publish that system. And then we see how it works in the real world
Josh: It’s [laughs]— you’re a few years above me. I always say, when you’re doing your systems, think like a fifth grader [laughs].
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, she’s in seventh grade.
Mark: But I think when I started with her, she was probably in third grade.
Mark: And, you know, she would read. She’d ask questions. Like, “Oh, that’s a good question,” you know, mark it off. Do it again. You know, watch this and then, you know.
And the worst is like my wife. She’s too critical. Like, I was going to go to the daughter. It was like just sweet about it. Like my wife’s like, “This is worst thing I’ve ever seen. This is too complex.”
Mark: Like, ”Oh.”
Josh: So I actually— I have even a lazier system than yours. Way lazier, actually.
Mark: Oh, let’s hear it.
Josh: I don’t document systems.
Mark: You don’t document systems?
Mark: What do you do?
Josh: The person doing the job documents the system.
Mark: Okay. So I like that and I have actually adopted that depending on the system, right? So if it’s a really, really critical system, then I will do it. And I will do the training on it. Otherwise, I will actually have them do the documentation. And then I’ll take that documentation and give it back to my daughter.
Josh: All right, so I’m going to give you just one little hint and then we have to end here because unfortunately we’re out of time for the podcast. But we can continue on with Facebook Live. Is that if you feel like you have to document the system yourself, here’s my guess, you’re documenting too much at once.
Mark: Yeah, it’s like you’re in my head.
Josh: Yeah, so if you chunk down what you’re actually documenting into smaller pieces, then you have somebody else do it for you, they can almost always do the small pieces right. It’s when you say, “Give me a global system where you’re forced into that.” So my free advice, and we all know that’s what worth, is to chunk down your systems into smaller pieces and let the people doing the job actually document it. And, by the way, when they document it, they’re going to learn it better.
Mark: I’m still going to keep on this podcast.
Josh: It’s like one of these things where when I was younger, I was an American History major so I knew nothing about business. So every time I wanted to learn something about business I didn’t know, I volunteered to teach a class on it. And if you really want to learn something, teach something you have no idea how to do.
Josh: So, there’s my free advice today.
And unfortunately, Mark, we are out of time. I’m going to bet some people are going to want to find you and learn more about what you want to do. So how would they go about doing that?
Mark: I think the best place to go is just thelandgeek.com. They can download for free our Passive Income Blueprint, get the e-book, How to Avoid the Three Fatal Land Buying Mistakes. And get our Art of Passive Income podcast each week to their email inbox. And if they send an email to support with the subject line JoshPatrick, or Josh, or JP, or whatever they want, we’ll send them for free our $97 Passive Income launch kit.
And I also have an offer for you. I’m going to hold the book up, so if you’re on Facebook Live, you can actually see it. This is going to my Sustainable Business Group is, this is my new book Sustainable: A Fable About Creating a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business. Really easy to get it, just go to www.sustainablethebook.com. And you’ll see a big orange button that says “Buy the book.” So you click on the button. You buy the book. And if you buy it from me, off my website, you get a free 20‑minute conversation with me and you get a how-to guide to how implement all the stuff that you read about in the parable.
This is Josh Patrick. You’re at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.