S3E38 Stephen Courson Achieved FIRE at age 34 with a service business

S3E38 –  Stephen Courson – Achieved FIRE at age 34 with a service business
Stephen Courson – Achieved FIRE at age 34 with a service business. My next guest has over 10 years of experience working in sales for large corporations including Gartner and Salesforce. In parallel to his corporate track, he invested in a service business and then sold his shares after 5 years. In this episode, we talk about the specific company he invested in, how much he invested, how much he sold his shares for, and what he works on today. Please welcome Stephen Courson.

Payback Time Podcast

A Podcast on Financial Independence. Hosted by Sean Tepper. If you want to learn how to escape the rat race, create passive income, or achieve financial freedom, you came to the right place.

Key Timecodes

  • (00:42) – Show intro and background history
  • (03:38) – Deeper into his background history and business model
  • (06:03) – How much did he invest originally
  • (07:51) – How about the revenues of this business model
  • (10:28) – Who does his business serve
  • (11:21) – How he structured his new business model
  • (15:48) – Deeper into his B2B business strategies
  • (18:14) – How does the company host the courses
  • (21:34) – Deeper into his courses strategies as a business
  • (26:15) – Deeper into his philosophy
  • (29:59) – A new educational perspective
  • (32:19) – How his philosophy aligns with the TYKR strategies
  • (34:03) – A key takeaway from the guest
  • (41:36) – What is the worst advice he ever received
  • (42:32) – What is the best advice he ever received
  • (44:18) – Guest contacts


[00:00:04.520] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Pay Back Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on financial independence. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest has over 10 years experience working in sales for large corporations, including Gartner and Salesforce. In parallel to his corporate track, he invested in a service business and then sold his shares after five years. In this episode, we talk about the specific company he invested in, how much he invested, how much he sold his shares for, and what he works on today. Please welcome Stephen Courson.
[00:00:43.280] – Sean
Stephen, welcome to the show.
[00:00:44.750] – Stephen
Hey, excited to be here.
[00:00:46.260] – Sean
Thanks for joining me. So why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:00:49.930] – Stephen
Yeah. So I’ve got a little bit of an all over the place background. I started 14 years ago, I guess maybe 15 years ago, graduated 2009 and went straight into sales for a company called Gartner. They do IT research and consulting. They’ve expanded a lot since then. They’re doing more stuff than just that. But at the time, that’s really all they were doing. And starting a sales career in 2009 was a very interesting timing because the world was on fire. And me coming from college, I had never had a big career before. I’d had little day jobs a thing, but that was interesting. And it was also really weird because it was like the financial world and real estate, all this stuff was just totally on fire. And here I am. I grew up broke. This is my first real job ever. And I was like, Why is everybody so stressed out? Because when your net worth is zero, you don’t really have anything to lose. So I was strangely immune to what was going on around me, despite even though it was a very stressful work environment. And then did that very successfully. After that first year, I pretty much made winner circle or president’s club at every single job that I was ever in.
[00:02:04.820] – Stephen
So for people unfamiliar with that term, it’s just the top sales award. Usually you get to go on a trip or something like that for being a top performer in your region or globally or whatever the case is. So did that job in multiple different positions for the next 11 years. It was a great company to work for. Decided to, as LeBron James would say, take my talentsto a tech company called Salesforce. I think I went to out there, worked there for two years, did really well, and then just knew that my time in the corporate world was up and was like, back in 2019, I had actually started a company while I was working in nine to five and co founded it with my cousin. And I was primarily coming in as an investor, helping with strategy, couple operations things. And we set up a local business here that did pressure washing, deep cleaning of carpets and upholstery for business businesses and residential, all that stuff. And then successfully exited that last year. And as of May, almost exactly a year ago, I quit corporate and started my own company. I am now doing financial education and media.
[00:03:18.260] – Stephen
And one of the big different spins with me is while I have a little bit of a B2C focus, I am focused on the B2B side as well and then selling that to corporations. And the curriculum is called the true wealth experience. So in a nutshell, that is a very exciting 15 year roadmap, I guess, that I’ve been on.
[00:03:39.100] – Sean
Before we jump into your current business that you’re working on today, a lot of listeners are they’re aspiring to do what you did, is you bootstrapped a business on the side, and in this case, you had a partner and then sold it for a liquidity event. So let’s talk about that a little bit. This sounds like a service business. It was pressure washing. I have to dive into it. When I think of pressure washing, I’m thinking of like, are you washing sidewalks and driveways?
[00:04:10.000] – Stephen
Driveways, parking garages, buildings, the side of buildings and different things like that, all of that.
[00:04:17.600] – Sean
Got you. Okay. And in this case, it sounds like you were more of a mentor, guiding things strategically. This was your did you say cousin?
[00:04:28.490] – Stephen
Yeah, this is my cousin we started and the company was called Citroën Clean. I was primarily funding the initial. He had had experience doing this years before then he got into banking. I was doing mortgage originations, different things like that. But he’s just not a desk job guy. And he was like, Man, we were just talking one day and we’re really close. And he was like, I really just want to… I miss getting back into these days and working with my hands. And I just enjoyed that. And he’s an extremely hard worker. And I will say this, you have to be careful when you go into business with family because things can get sketchy when things get tough with money and it can build walls between you guys relationally. So we really had to make sure that we set up some guardrails for ourselves because we value each other, we love each other and different things like that. And we didn’t want anything financially to ever get in the way of things. And fortunately, by doing that, when things did get tough because then this whole COVID thing hit, we couldn’t work, do all this other stuff.
[00:05:30.180] – Stephen
We didn’t know what was going to happen with the business. It was a very stressful time. Having those guardrails that we agreed upon before we ever spent our first day in the business, it really helped us personally and professionally get through all of that. So then we had a timeline of five years. And I told him that I wanted… The whole plan was that he was going to buy it out from me for him, whatever the valuation was in five years. And that’s exactly what happened. It was great. And we made it work. Cool. Profit and the business is still going strong.
[00:06:03.380] – Sean
Got you. Okay. So I thought you maybe sold it to another company, but in this case, you had a buyout situation. So let’s get into the numbers a little bit. How much did you invest originally?
[00:06:14.990] – Stephen
So initially invested about $40,000. It’s a big equipment thing, how to buy a van, how to buy a rig, different things like that. I gave an initial loan to the business and I did it on a 8 % interest rate instead of us having to take a commercial loan. So I just provided the cash up front for that. And then from there, I gave a two year break because I didn’t want to take anything from the profits and I just wanted to reinvest. So that’s also really important for anybody that’s looking to do that, how you structure whether or not your S Corp partnership, lots of different things that you have to consider from a legal standpoint on how you’re going to take distributions. That’s definitely something you have to consider in those situations from day one. So we set that up to where we could take him as needed. He was getting a salary. I was just focused on getting equity out of this thing. Then by the time that we exited, it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping to be in five years. But the fact that we were still in business after two recessions and COVID literally making us unable to go into buildings and work and different things like that, we were really happy.
[00:07:22.800] – Stephen
So business, we hit six figures within the first nine months. Struggled a little bit the next year in 2020 with COVID. And then the year after that, we started picking up again. And by the time that I exited, I think I made about 110 % of my initial investment.
[00:07:39.590] – Sean
Okay, so I’m thinking here you invested 40, would you make 90 to 100?
[00:07:44.500] – Stephen
Yeah, right about that. 96.
[00:07:46.730] – Sean
Okay, nice. Good for you. After five years, that’s pretty solid. And then his revenues when you exited, because this will paint a good picture for the listeners out there creating a service business. And I like these boring businesses that really solve a problem, especially the B2B. Smart place to be. What were his revenues after five years?
[00:08:07.590] – Stephen
I believe after five years, our first year, we ended up 106. And then like I said, really difficult times, two years, the next two years just navigating the entire… Because a lot of people thought they’re like, Oh, but you’re in the cleaning business. Wasn’t that actually really good during COVID? Because people were cleaning. And I tell them we were in the wrong cleaning business because we weren’t doing the scrubbing down desks when we thought that was really effective with all that stuff. We were doing deep clean stuff on furniture and stains and pressure washing. Well, a big part of our revenue was commercial pressure washing. Well, nobody was going into the office, so nobody wanted their stuff pressure washed. So we had to get creative with a couple of different things, manage to get by. But we really ralled at the end of it. And I believe the year that I left W2, right around one, I don’t remember exactly, it was a close to 190, I believe.
[00:09:01.640] – Sean
190? Okay, got you. So 106, year one, 190, year five.
[00:09:06.450] – Stephen
Technically, that was year four. That was going into year five. Got it. Okay. Sorry, I may have misrepresented that because I was thinking the fifth year of it starting.
[00:09:15.830] – Sean
That’s fine. That gives our audience perspective. It’s almost…
[00:09:18.760] – Stephen
Because it was 2019 and we’re in 2023.
[00:09:22.150] – Sean
Almost double your revenue after a few years, which is pretty good. And then is it just a situation where he’s owner operating rater, or does he have any employees with him?
[00:09:32.390] – Stephen
He is owner. He does do some operations, but he has three full-time employees now.
[00:09:36.920] – Sean
Got you. Okay.
[00:09:38.460] – Stephen
And last I heard, I believe he’s projected for a quarter mil this year at the rate that he’s going right now. He’s in.
[00:09:45.430] – Sean
I was going to say with that many employees, I’d like to see the revenues a little higher than the 190. So that’s good to hear that, too.
[00:09:53.400] – Stephen
At the 190 point, I think he only had one full Timer, and then he just hired two more with some of the, I think one of those may be a part Timer. I don’t want to misrepresent it because I haven’t talked to him too much in the past couple of months, but I believe that’s the set up.
[00:10:08.320] – Sean
Sure. So let’s lead up to your business right now is that that sale you get to pocket about 96K. And that gave you a little padding there and especially the conversation probably with your wife to say, do I want to continue doing this corporate thing? The answer being no, let’s create my own business and dive into this little bit. So who does your business serve?
[00:10:32.350] – Stephen
The existing one? Yes, correct. So the existing one that I have is a financial media company. I create some financial courses and basically the people that it serves is, you can tell anybody that uses money. But it has a B2C element where you can go and you can just purchase it. But who I’m actively focused on selling to because I’m not going to go and actively try to sell a $99 course. It’s not worth my time to be putting that into it. The people that I’m going and selling to are organizations who want to bring financial wellness to their employees. So right now, I’m targeted for companies that are around 2,600 employees from a headcount perspective. And the niches that I’m focused on would be professional services and tech.
[00:11:21.780] – Sean
Got it. Okay, so you’re going to an organization with 200 to 600 employees, approximately. And with this how do you structure that, the revenue model there? Because now it’s more.
[00:11:34.380] – Stephen
Of a B2B play. No, it’s a good question. So I have on the website, everything is listed. There’s two courses right now. There will be a third one that’s being released later on. And each one is based off of where you are on your financial journey. So you pretty much have level one, which is for whenever people who are just like, my money is a wreck. I need to get a budget. I need to get out of debt, different things like that. That’s level one. Level two is really the fundamentals on how to make money. So it doesn’t matter what you do for a job. It is going to be different things like building up your professional network, increasing your skills in a certain area, creating plans around stuff. There’s a lot of different elements around the fundamentals of making money that went into that course. And that one, I tell people is like, if you’re zero to 100K in your net worth, that’s the course that you’re going to want, though the principles would apply to anybody. And then once you’re beyond the 100K, that’s where the third one will come into play. And I’ve been doing personal coaching on that one for the past five years.
[00:12:40.540] – Stephen
And the target audience for that is really household income s that are 100 to maybe $500,000 a year. And that is a demographic that they refer to as Henry’s, and that’s high earners, not rich yet. And this is a demographic of people I fell into. I knew a lot of people like this. I was helping a lot of my fellow salespeople that were earning anywhere from 150 to 300K a year with their finances because it can be really hard to budget and plan your finances when 70 % of all your commissions happen in December. So that can create a challenge through the rest of the year, depending on the sales that you’re in. So I had an equation that I came up with and a methodology to help people figure out exactly what they needed to earn when you have a regular income, and then we followed through on there. So that is going to be the third course. I just wanted to launch the first two, then I’ll get to that. When I go to these businesses and I’m licensing them, basically, when a person buys it on my website and there’s a B2C sales, just an individual getting it, they get lifetime access.
[00:13:49.340] – Stephen
So they get access to the course for as long as the servers can keep it up and I’m still in business. For the businesses, they are getting access to the license for their employee for one year. And we can do two or three years agreements, but it’s annually based. And then I have it set up relatively similar to something you would see with SaaS pricing. So I will give some initial discounts on volume. And then from there, I will also give additional discounts based off of longevity of the contract. So if we’re doing a two, three year contract, we’ll throw on some additional things to lower the price point for license. And then the other thing that comes with the B2B side is I include two speaking engagements in there. So the first one, I’ve gone through a program that I invested in called the SpeakerL ab on how to run effective workshops, how to be a keynote speaker, wanted to make sure that everything I brought to the table was really good, how to do engaging Zoom calls since I didn’t want it to just be me drowning on for 90 minutes. I think we all know what Zoom fatigue is, and did a training with a girl that I know around her Move framework and how to make Zooms very engaging and keep attention.
[00:15:03.680] – Stephen
So really just trying to be as excellent as I can be from the get go and then continue to improve from there. Those speaking engagements happen at the kick off. And then I will do another one virtually. And then we have an entire engagement program set up throughout the year to make sure that people are taking at least finishing the course at least once because course completion notoriously tends to be pretty low. The teens, it’s really important to make sure in order for this to work, that you’re engaging people throughout the year. And the courses are specifically designed to be done within a few hours. You’re going to jump in, they move pretty quickly, 5 to 10 minutes, usually a session, and we’re breathing through it.
[00:15:47.980] – Sean
That’s great. Before we jump into some of the content, especially the third course, I want to jump into that level. With this structure in your model, since you are charging more B2B, are you doing year long contracts with businesses?
[00:16:02.550] – Stephen
Yeah, everything’s an annual contract.
[00:16:04.470] – Sean
Got it. And I assume it’s based on number of employees how you charge?
[00:16:08.040] – Stephen
Yes. So I’m doing it by volume for one, and then I’ll throw in some additional discounts if they sign a 2-3 year agreement as well.
[00:16:16.530] – Sean
Okay, nice. And can you give us an idea of what are you charging businesses?
[00:16:20.170] – Stephen
So right now, just because this is my first year going into the B2B space, and I’m pretty hyper focused on that two to six hundred just from a manpower perspective, since you’re looking at it. Because I think, as you know, you probably talk to a lot of people, when you start to scale beyond yourself, more money doesn’t necessarily mean more money. So there’s a fine line that I’ve done some calculations on. It’s like, listen, I can make a decent amount of money running this just myself with a certain amount of clients. And then once it gets to this critical mass to where I have to bring on people for support, I have to bring on people if I want additional sales, whatever the case is, it’s like, well, then all of a sudden for me to make the same amount of money, that number gets a lot bigger a lot faster. So in the meantime, I’m just trying to scale this for me and make sure that I’m doing what works. So that’s why I’m focused on those 200 to 600 employee size. It’s a sweet spot. I’m sorry, I forgot your initial question now.
[00:17:15.400] – Sean
Yeah, I was curious to know how much you charge businesses.
[00:17:17.840] – Stephen
Oh, right. So getting in there. So with the first two courses that I’ve released right now, those are both made available. The first one is $99. The second one is $400. That’s for somebody to go and buy them individually. So what I do is I license each one of those. The pricing at them right now is at $150 a head. And then that’s just flat rate, no additional discounting. They’re at the minimum threshold of 50 employees and we don’t have anything else. So it’s already discounted right off the bat down from a combined $500 for the two, down to 150. And then, like I said, as we continue to pick up with volume, I do it in tiers of basically 100.
[00:18:01.030] – Sean
Got it. So for example, if it’s a business that has 100 employees and they want to license one of the courses at $150, they’re paying $15,000 a year is how you would charge them, correct? Correct. Got it. Okay. And then hosting the courses, for example, we got into courses, we use Teachable, which is nice. From top to bottom, it guides people through a course and shows completion rates and shows how far they are, what courses they may be skipped if you allow that functionality. Are you using Teachable or.
[00:18:33.730] – Stephen
What do you use? I looked at Teachable, looked at M yte Networks, looked at Circle. That was another one. But I ended up landing with Kajabi, actually. Kajabi, in my opinion, they started as a online course company. That was what they built their bones on. I like the course functionality. I think it’s really good. I value simplicity at this level. They are not the best in class in every single thing that they offer because you can do a lot with them. You can have a website, you can use them for your newsletter and your blog and your podcast and all these other things. They are not the best in all of those. But in my opinion, they’re the best all in one solution. And for where I’m at right now in the functionality that I need, sure, maybe I’ll get to a point to where I need to move to a convert kit or something like that. But for right now, when it’s just me, the ability to be able to log into one tool, have everything there. There’s something to be said about that from a time management perspective, a simplification perspective process, all that other stuff.
[00:19:41.420] – Stephen
So that’s why I ultimately ended up landing with Kajabi. And to their credit, I’ve been with them for about a year now. They have significantly upgraded their communities. They made an acquisition there. That was probably their weakest product, to be honest with you. They really needed it. And they continue to make improvements to payment portals and a lot of other stuff. So I have a lot of respect for the pace of innovation that they’re.
[00:20:03.970] – Sean
Moving at. Yeah, you made a great choice there. I tell people, don’t try to split hairs on this because there’s so many of these new course creator platforms and some of them are lifetime deals. They’re complete garbage or a new product that is like, hey, try this for 10 bucks a month, you get what you pay for.
[00:20:27.640] – Sean
Kajabi is a more mature platform, years of testing. I remember going back seven or eight years getting into Kajabi, and I was like, They do a lot of things right. You’re going to pay a little more for it.
[00:20:39.690] – Stephen
The other thing you have to consider, too, is video hosting costs and other things. I can make this a lot cheaper. But again, then I got to log in to all these other things and then WordPress and then video hosting. And it’s like, no, it’s like I pay Kajabi, I’m on their pro plan. I think it’s like $200 a month. So for $2,400 a month, I have all the functionality reality I could ever need to run this type of business. $2,400 a month. And I don’t worry about anything else. Sure. And again, I can upgrade to something better as my capabilities become more advanced. But for the time being, this is great. It’s fine.
[00:21:15.900] – Sean
Yeah, nice. And then just to reiterate there, you pay about $200 a month, about $2,400 per year.
[00:21:20.810] – Stephen
Oh, yeah. Did I say something different? Yes, $200.
[00:21:23.460] – Sean
A month, $2,400 per year. Per month. Yeah, I’m sure some listeners just be like, Whoa, I’m not.
[00:21:28.910] – Stephen
Paying $2,400 a month. No, it’s not. $2,400 a year, yes. No.
[00:21:33.740] – Sean
Right on. Cool. Well, let’s backtrack a little bit. I took notes here. You’ve got the first course, which sounds like it’s getting out of debt. Second course is making money if you have a net worth somewhere between 0 and 100K. And then the third course, I didn’t really get into the content here. It’s really focused on people that are making maybe a household income between 150 and 300 a year. Is that correct?
[00:21:57.280] – Stephen
Yeah, it can be up to 500 dependent on basically the demographic is this. If you’re making decent money and you have some money left over at the end of the month to invest, it’s not enough to give to a wealth advisor and pay their fees and do all that other stuff. And you’re like, Well, what do I do with this? Then that’s the course for you. The names of them are very intentional, obviously. The first one is foundation. It’s like, listen, paying off debt, we’re getting our money in order, we’re doing basic money systems. It’s your financial foundation. The second one is momentum. And momentum is because if anybody has heard of Dave Ramsey before, the first one is really his course with a little couple of different spin on it. One thing he doesn’t cover is debt negotiation. I cover that. It’s like, Hey, why would you pay more if you don’t have to? So I cover that as the first one. And what he does in eight hours, I do in two because I just don’t think people have time to go through an eight hour course anymore. Then Dave Ramsey leaves off.
[00:22:57.510] – Stephen
His final step is build wealth and give. It’s extremely generic. It’s like, Well, how do you do that? He never really gets into it. So that’s where momentum picks up because that was for me. I was like, Okay, how do I do this? You’re just telling me to do it. You’re not saying how to. So that’s where momentum is. Design is based off of this concept called lifestyle design, which is really important nowadays because when you hear what therapists talk about to people nowadays, specifically that are millennials and Gen Z that are starting to get into their careers now, some of the older Gen Z, they say that pretty much everybody is suffering from one particular thing, and that is option overload. We have too many options in life. It doesn’t matter when it comes to work, when it comes to dating, when it comes to choosing where we want to live. There’s never been a more abundant time to be alive, and it’s overwhelming for us. You just think about how often do you go to Netflix at the end of the day and you’re down and you want to pick a show to watch and you’re scrolling and scrolling and, oh, that looks good.
[00:24:04.610] – Stephen
And you keep going and you keep going, it’s option overlap. And the next thing you know, it’s been 20 minutes, you still haven’t picked something and you probably end up going to something you’ve already seen before because you know it’s good. That’s a lot of what is happening in the world and some of the things that I’m trying to address with lifestyle design in the third course. We need to simplify our lives, not try to get more options. What we need is direction and we have to define that for ourselves. You can’t just go through life being carried by the whims and wins of society because then society is going to hand you a crap card that you’re not particularly thrilled with, which is where a lot of people end up. But if you take some initiative and you go, These are my values. This is my why. This is my purpose. And then you create three long term objectives, no more than three, one to three is what I like to say. And you put that three years out. Well, now what you’ve done is you’ve essentially become the racehorse on the track with the blinders on.
[00:25:08.150] – Stephen
And that racehorse could turn in any direction he wants to, but they put the blinders on the horse to keep them focused. That’s all you’ve done. You’ve identified what’s important to you. And now when all these inevitable options and life start coming up, you just get to ask the question of, does this align to my why statement and my objectives, where I’m going? And if the answer is not an absolute heck yes, it does, then it’s a hard no. And then you just ignore it and you keep moving on with your life. And that simplification makes all the difference.
[00:25:37.930] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break. Hey, this is a quick heads up that we have a second podcast titled Top Stocks. With Top Stocks podcast, I talk about investing, business, and finance. The audio content is published on your favorite podcast platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google, or Amazon. And the video content is published on the Tykr YouTube channel, so you can either watch or listen to each episode. These episodes are just me, so no interviews. And the overall goal is to help you become a better investor. Go ahead and look up Top Stock’s podcast or check out the Tykr YouTube channel. All right, back to the show. Well, put, so many people I know are, they’re distracted by the shiny object here, especially with investing. They hear about this new crypto coin, or this new stock, or ETF that’s coming out from Vanguard that’s packaged and sold as something special and.
[00:26:32.290] – Stephen
Different from something else. They got the new Bitcoin ETF coming out here pretty soon. Let’s try to work on that. There you go. Shiny objects, guys.
[00:26:38.970] – Sean
Exactly. We’re going left and right and left and right. And it’s like you’re not getting anywhere down the runway when you’re doing this. You got to stay focused on your plan, your why, focus on the long term. I want to just zoom out here and just give you compliments on what you’ve done with your three different packages. We don’t call it different products with Tykr, but I teach what I call the four pillars of finance. There’s pillar one, which is debt removal, pillar two is increasing income, pillar three is building wealth, and pillar four is protecting wealth. And it sounds like you’re actually hitting the first three pillars with different courses. With Tykr, we let people know debt removal. You can go to guys like yourself or Dave Ramsey, they’re out there like, you want to get rid of debt? They’re great for that. We don’t focus on that. Then, increasing income. I’m all about like, public polish your resume, get a job in IT. Because most IT jobs, it’s the easiest part. I’ve helped so many people out there. They may be doing something else. Let’s polish that resume, figure out how do we take what you did before and get you a job as either business analyst, system analyst, project manager, project coordinator, whatever, and immediately get a pretty significant pay bump because IT is.
[00:27:51.800] – Stephen
A great place to be. Again, I grew up in IT. From a consulting perspective, fun fact, unemployment across IT, generally as an industry, tends to be around 1 % to 2 % at any point in time over the past 20 years. It’s pretty good.
[00:28:08.370] – Sean
It is. And for example, there’s one guy I was talking to, he was probably in his upper 20s, he was probably 28, 29. He’s doing customer service at a large corporation, making maybe 35, maybe 40. And I was like, Let’s take what you’ve done before, tailor your resume to business analysts. And he immediately jumped to 80 grand a year. So he doubled your income, man.
[00:28:29.530] – Stephen
And people get intimidated, I think, by titles. Sometimes they look at data analysis and different things and they’re like, Oh, I don’t know if I can do that. And the reality is, you’re probably doing that to some degree all day. It’s completely overcomplicated. It if you don’t know what it is. And then you get in there and you’re like, I mean, just to give people an idea, social media marketers, guess what? They’re doing business analytics. That’s getting on your phone on TikTok or YouTube or whatever and looking at your analytics and going, Okay, well, I posted this that trended. The data that came from here, it converted over this. That’s all that that is. And it’s one of the most important things you can be doing right now because there’s so much data, they need people to cifer through it to figure out the correlation and causation. Yeah, absolutely. And by the way, real quick, have to throw this out. With the new emergence of AI coming out, all the different tools that are out there, all the different things that are happening, whether or not you want to get into blockchain, AI, all these different things, you can get licensed for free.
[00:29:33.770] – Stephen
You can get free certifications. Google has an entire academy. They just released a whole new AI thing because they want people working off of B ard, their AI platform. So they have released this for free. If you can get these certifications in a couple of months and you can slap that on a LinkedIn, you will go from customer service representative to potentially earning six figures as an AI expert, and it will cost you nothing but time and effort.
[00:29:59.840] – Sean
And Amen. It’s a really easy put. I shouldn’t say really easy. You’re going to have to put in some effort over a few months to learn something.
[00:30:07.610] – Stephen
It’s better than four years and $100,000 in debt at.
[00:30:10.770] – Sean
A college. That’s it. Skip the college degree. I know kids who are coming out of high school who are just going right to laser focused points, which is, let’s just learn a tech stack like you mentioned Salesforce. They’re just like, I want to learn how to either do data analytics or configurations or even programming built on to Salesforce and just do that and get a job like paying 60, 70, 80K coming out of high school. It’s like, that’s a smart strategy as opposed to four years of missed opportunity cost.
[00:30:41.100] – Stephen
There’s a Salesforce admin that I knew when I worked at Gartner. I’m sorry at Salesforce. He was 20 years old, Salesforce admin, had completed all of these certifications that Salesforce offers for free and got a job a year out of high school, making $80,000 a year as a Salesforce admin. When you hyper focus your skill sets in a certain area with some of these big, large tech companies, again, you give yourself the opportunity to specialize, and a lot of times the education for it is absolutely free. The ROI on that is huge. And I tell people all the time, I’m like, listen, I am not anti college by any means of the imagination. I am anti ROI negative investments. And a four year investment into number one, you have opportunity costs. Number two, that comes along with it is potential debt load. What does that end up looking like? Are we talking $20,000 because you had scholarships? Are we talking about $150,000 because it was a private school out in California somewhere? These are not created the same. And then what did you actually get from it? I talked to people who are graduating with marketing degrees, and they’re asking me about when I worked at some of these corporations, they would come to me and say, Hey, I want to get in there with marketing.
[00:31:56.290] – Stephen
I’m like, Okay, well, tell me what you learned. They don’t even touch social media marketing because it moves too quickly. So they can’t include it in the curriculum. I’m like, Well, you’re essentially useless, or your degree was anyway.
[00:32:05.540] – Sean
[00:32:06.590] – Stephen
A fascinating time to where we can look at a lot of things. And outside of your basic STEM fields right now, I just have a really hard time making a recommendation for college outside.
[00:32:18.080] – Sean
Of that. I totally agree. Jumping back to the pillars here real quick. When we get to the third pillar, wealth building, that’s we focus on, which is all about using Tykr to find great stocks, invest in individual stocks. That’s where you really accelerate your wealth building process. Then we have courses as well teaching you how to invest on your own. The fourth pillar is all about wealth protection, which is you sold a business or sold some real estate. You’re at an age where you’re right at about retirement. That’s when you want to go into more like index funds and ETFs. Those are the four differences. But it’s pretty cool how your three different courses actually align with the three pillars I talked about. They really focus on those core strategies. So well done there.
[00:32:59.900] – Stephen
Well, thank you. It’s the natural progression of wealth building. And look, for most people, their wealth journey is not going to be a straight line. It’s just not because people… We love to think ourselves immune, but the reality is there’s going to be a major disaster in your life, probably every five years on average. So that could be a personal disaster. It could be an economic disaster. It could be, depending on where you live, a natural disaster that becomes a personal disaster. So I live in Florida. I know people who had their homes completely destroyed because we had a record hurricane that came recently. I know other people who were laid off due to the economic disaster that we had just recently, and then it drained their savings. So it’s like, this is not solid trend line up. It’s going to look just like a stock price. It’s going to go up and down. The goal when you’re building wealth is to prevent those dips from becoming so severe when they do happen because they will 100 % happen. So just be prepared because it’s a lot easier to go down than it is to go up.
[00:34:03.900] – Sean
Before we jump to the rapid fire round, is there one key take away you can give to our audience in one of those three categories, whether it’s debt removal or increasing income or building wealth?
[00:34:17.330] – Stephen
What I would say is this, I’ll give you two quick ones. When it comes to debt removal, there is no lower hanging fruit when it comes to financial freedom and when it comes to honestly just reducing overall stress in your life. A lot of people are so stressed about money, they don’t even know they’re stressed about money. They just assume, oh, well, operating with this amount of nervous energy every single month when I have to pay my bills, that’s just normal. And when you just take the time to buckle down, get a little bit of an emergency fund done, spend a couple of hours in an afternoon negotiating your debt down, and then really working on paying off that debt, you will find real mental and physical benefits to that on top of the obvious financial ones. There is no easier thing that you can do than just make a budget and call around and try to negotiate your insurance and save a little money on your bills. So that would be the first one. When it comes to the second one, when building wealth, the one that I feel that people ignore the most that has made the biggest difference, probably in my career, is your social wealth.
[00:35:24.300] – Stephen
So I always talk about the four different types of wealth when I talk about wealth building. You have time wealth, health wealth, financial wealth, and social wealth. Well, one of the easiest things you can do in today’s day and age is increase your social wealth from a professional capacity. Get on LinkedIn. This entire conversation is happening because of LinkedIn. We got on and when we were talking previous to this, it was just kindred spirits around the guitars and different things. And I look forward to further conversations with you in the back. Absolutely. That all just happened from LinkedIn. It was just saying, hey, here’s a guy that’s doing some interesting stuff in our industry, and I sent you a quick DM. And then we hopped on a quick video chat from there, and boom, here we are. And what I would just say to people is that if you think about building your professional network as part of a wealth building process, you will probably never truly understand the impact that it will have on your wealth building process. But I can give you some real benefits, like the fact that I just had lunch with the CAs O, chief administrative officer, of a $500 million company the other day, and he was able to give me some really beneficial information as I was building out some different elements with my B2B program.
[00:36:43.730] – Stephen
Well, for me to go and get a consultant to have these same conversations with me or somebody at that level with his years of experience and all that, I paid for lunch. It cost me about 20 bucks. That, from a consulting perspective, could have cost me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just for that hour. That is just one real benefit that you can take away from a solid professional network.
[00:37:08.050] – Sean
Great advice. I’m a big advocate of networking and using LinkedIn. Make those introductions and just say, Hey, why not set up a Zoom? M aybe there’s a way we can learn about our businesses, and maybe there’s a way we can work together. Never know where it can go. Never know. All right, let’s jump into the rapid fire round. This is the part of the episode when we get to find out who Steve even really is, if you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You ready? Bring it on. All right. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:37:39.700] – Stephen
The one I listen to religiously is going to be the all in podcast. That is an intersex section of these four guys. They’re very good friends. They literally call each other besties. And it’s an intersection of business, politics, and science. So absolutely fascinating all in podcast. Very cool.
[00:37:57.750] – Sean
What is the recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:38:01.530] – Stephen
That’s a hard one. I read a lot of books. The one that I read most recently, this was a reread, but I’m going to plug it, was Who Moved My Cheese. I read that one about once a year. You can read it in 90 minutes. It’s absolutely brilliant and it’s short.
[00:38:19.380] – Sean
Who’s the author?
[00:38:20.150] – Stephen
Do you recall? Oh, not that I’ve got. Doctor or something. I can’t play with it. Who Moved My Cheese is the title. Somebody wrote a response book to it called I Moved Your Cheese that felt pretty good. Nice.
[00:38:38.450] – Sean
I see you’re.
[00:38:40.190] – Stephen
Spencer Johnson. Spencer Johnson, thank you. It was wonderful.
[00:38:42.470] – Sean
Okay, I’ve heard of it. All right, thanks for that. A recommendation. If somebody else tells you something once, somebody else tells you something again, it’s like, okay, I’m listening.
[00:38:52.100] – Stephen
And like I said, you can read it in 80 minutes. This is normally a book I’ll go to maybe once every year, 18 months. I have my all time time book list right there. It’s hiding somewhere right there in the corner. Super tiny. Love it. It’s genius.
[00:39:06.400] – Sean
All right, movie question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:39:09.480] – Stephen
This is a tough one. Recently, I have to give it to the new Spiderman movie, but I would actually say the first, the Spiderman movie or Spiderman character, he’s my new soul animal or spirit animal, I’m sorry. So the animation, the CGI, the writing, the foreshadowing, I’m a fan of story. I don’t care the medium that it’s in. And I have to go back now and watch the first one because there was so much foreshadowing done in the first one that I’m finding out about the second one. And the animation is just something I’ve never even seen before. They created a whole new level of it. So just due to all the technical capabilities, I’m a Spiderman fan on top of it, I’m going to go with that one. All time, though, I’d probably.
[00:39:53.090] – Sean
Say Gladiator. Good choice. My favorite movie is actually Spiderman. Is this Spiderman Across the Spiderverse? This recent one?
[00:40:00.620] – Stephen
Spiderman Across the Spiderverse that just came out, yes. The first one was groundbreaking from an animation perspective. This one built on it. But I think the story in the second was even better.
[00:40:11.670] – Sean
I see it’s got a 9.0 on IMDb. I use IMDb for ratings.
[00:40:18.020] – Stephen
That’s low.
[00:40:18.940] – Sean
I’m thinking that’s high. If I can see a movie, usually the cut off is like, if you can get a movie in IMDb that’s greater than 8.0, it’s like, okay, we’ve got a movie here that might be worth watching. Now, if it gets to 9.0, it’s like, that’s the territory where we’re at, like Dark Knight, Shawshank Redemption.
[00:40:37.990] – Stephen
There’s no reason this should be a 9.5. The only knock I have against this one is that the soundtrack of the first one was better. Okay. That’s it. It was still a good soundtrack, but the soundtrack of the first one has songs I still listen to. That’s awesome. Just to give you a quick one objective thing about it, normally a CGI movie will have something anywhere from 60 to 100 animators on it. This one, the initial one had 400 animators working on it. They use multiple different types of animation. So the whole thing is it’s the Spiderverse. So there’s an unlimited amount of universes. So they go to all these different styles to where the storyline of Spiderman is the same, but the characters shift a little bit, the animation shifts. So because of that, you’re not just watching one type of animation, you’re watching a movie that could have anywhere from 10 to 30 types of animation in the same movie.
[00:41:30.270] – Sean
Nice. Thanks for the heads up. We could turn.
[00:41:32.820] – Stephen
This into a movie podcast overnight. I’m a little bit of a cinema fan.
[00:41:35.970] – Sean
The audience is like, get going here with the business questions. All right, with that in mind, what is the worst advice you ever received?
[00:41:45.300] – Stephen
Play it safe. However, that has been communicated to me through multiple different times. Sometimes you’ll hear people say things like, the worst people you can listen to sometimes is your family and your friends. I think that doesn’t get expanded on enough. But I also think it’s true because your family and your friends are generally coming from a place of care and a place of love. And normally their calls to protection, their calls to keep you safe, again, that’s coming from a good place. But the results of it can be very damaging. And especially when you’re young, I say take risks. Take risks in love, take risks in business, take risks on your education, in your life experiences. Don’t play it safe. You have the rest of your life to do that.
[00:42:31.590] – Sean
Good advice. And what is the best advice you ever received?
[00:42:37.130] – Stephen
The best advice I think I’ve probably ever received is honestly, it was just stop trying to please people. It’s, again, so basic. But when you look at the book, Top Five Regrets of the Dying, the number one regret of the dying is the fact that they didn’t live a life more true to themselves. I think the social pressure that we experience, the FOMO that we get through social media, I think that it just can’t be understated how much people really don’t care about what you do with your life. And so therefore, living by these invisible expectations that we believe society has for us, again, it’s just an.
[00:43:17.660] – Sean
Absolute waste. Totally agree. All right, last question. Here’s the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:43:27.560] – Stephen
So I’m guessing by Bitcoin, it probably could.
[00:43:31.310] – Sean
Be the obvious one. I’ve heard that one before.
[00:43:34.090] – Stephen
Actually, I think Doge even did it even better when you consider the origin to it, but whatever. Outside of that, I think if I was to go back, honestly, the thing that would have made the biggest difference was 2009, going into my professional career, having a net worth of zero and the economy being at zero. I turned down buying an apartment for 30K that was previously 200,000 because I had no idea really what was going on around me. So if I could go back in time to prepare myself for that, I would have gone back to myself at 16, slapped myself in the face, got really closely, intensely into my eyes and say, learn about how money works. And that probably would have been the lesson.
[00:44:17.750] – Sean
Yes, right on. All right, Steven, where can the audience reach you?
[00:44:21.610] – Stephen
So the audience can find me. I’m pretty heavily on LinkedIn. I post there every day. I just had to restart my Twitter, got hacked. But you can find me at Steven Korsin there. I’m starting that again. And then YouTube is the next big one. I post all of my podcasts. I’m going to have some additional YouTube videos that are specific, like five to seven minute contents there. You just type in my name, Steven Korsen, and my podcast, The Steven Korsen Show.
[00:44:46.270] – Sean
Awesome. Well, thanks for joining. We’ll see.
[00:44:48.630] – Stephen
You next time. Thanks so much, man. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
[00:44:51.110] – Sean
All right, we’ll see you. Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. Talk to you later. See you. You.