Joe Mebrahtu recently sat down with international bestselling author and one half of The ABC Guys, Dr. Denis Cauvier, ahead of the release of their latest book, Financial Freedom: How to Profit From Your Perfect Business. Read or listen to the interview below. See the bottom of the page for a limited time offer.
Interview with Dr. Denis Cauvier of The ABC Guys
Joe: I’m here with Dr. Dennis Cauvier the co-author of this incredible book called Financial Freedom: How to Profit From Your Perfect Business. The first thing I thought when I picked up the book was this is a step-by-step guide on how to start a business right away. I was surprised that this book was actually more about personal development in the sense that it really made me work on my mindset. And I was not in any way prepared for that. So tell me why this book? Why now?
Denis: Well it’s interesting and I think it’s sort of several things all coming together. I kind of liken it to that movie way back when over 10 years ago, The Perfect Storm and it had this little boat. So this boat did not stand a chance because all these elements just hit at it at the same time, hence the perfect storm. Well, from a financial literacy perspective it is the perfect storm right now. I mean, first of all there’s, in our estimation, a lack of financial literacy awareness and people are living way beyond their means. There’s a super easy credit issues. So there’s all these elements to get into debt very, very quickly. There’s hyper consumers and if you look at anything online it’s all about living “the huge life” not “big” but “the huge life”. Most people have that desire for you to be financially free. Hence the book Financial Freedom. But how do you do that? One of the realities is that through all our research, through our experience, we know the best way to become financially free is to, first of all, get your own finances in check but also to tap into passive income through entrepreneurship to own one or more successful businesses. Now some people say, “Well I don’t know if I really want to be an entrepreneur or it might be kind of risky”. Well, the reality is that the notion of the traditional job is dead; in fact, it’s been dead for quite a while.
I mean, you look at any of the mass media and you look at these big organizations from Kodak that had 78,000 employees. All of a sudden a couple of disruptors come along with digital cameras and now the iPhone and other smart phones and that’s gone the way of the dodo bird right.
It’s obsolete. So what happens is the notion of the conventional work has changed. Think of the programming that we all had as kids. It was essentially go to school, you worked real hard to get real grades so you can eventually get to a better school to work real hard to get good grades so that eventually you can graduate to get to work for a good company to get a good job. Well, the reality is that actually should not be the goal anymore; the goal should be to own a great company not to get a great job but own a great company because the reality is there just isn’t any job security.
That’s just reality. So understanding that is to start to do several things, is start to keep your mind set. We call these attitudes the ABC philosophy that we have developed. So it all starts with having the right attitude, and then once you have the right attitude is to engage in the right behaviors and then tap in through creativity and that’s owning one or more excellent companies.
Denis: Now if you can understand this and apply these principles well, even if you have a job and you find yourself without a job, you’ll become bulletproof because you can simply parlay that into some other opportunity.
Joe: That’s incredible. We recognize the fact that jobs are not out there. Millennials are struggling, they’re getting their degrees and they can’t find jobs and many are working at Starbucks or retail, but yet the narrative has not changed.
How do we change the narrative? How do we get people to change their mindset? Because what I traditionally hear in my world is that the majority of people don’t believe that they are an entrepreneur. However, you state this in this book, that we’re all entrepreneurs. How do we change that narrative?
Denis: Well, I’d actually liken it to another parallel. I believe we’re all entrepreneurs and I believe we’re all sales people. In fact, I believe if you’re alive, by the very nature, you’re entrepreneurial and you’re a sales person and I see a huge parallel all times. I guess we have to get definitional. What is a sales person or what is selling? By our definition, selling is no more than the art or the ability to influence someone to your way of thinking.
Let’s talk about toddlers. Toddlers are some of the natural born best salespeople alright. So you get the little one and it’s an hour before dinner time and you don’t want the little ones to spoil their appetite but they really want that cookie. So the little person is going to go to mom or dad and they’re going to probably try all these different techniques from a hug to I am going to do a chore, to negotiating because they want that cookie. You see what they’re doing is they’re trying to influence you to their way of thinking. They’re so clever they’re going to try different approaches with mom versus dad or with grandma or whoever they are. You control the cookie jar you know. So that’s the art of it.
“I believe we’re all entrepreneurs and I believe we’re all sales people. In fact, I believe if you’re alive, by the very nature, you’re entrepreneurial and you’re a sales person…”
Denis: Let’s say for example you got an old beater or a clunker of a car. And this thing is really costing you a fortune in gas and you just got to get rid of this thing. So if you’re Kijiji or Craigslist or whatever you’re selling. So whenever we’re backed up and we need something to happen, we will do what we need to do to positively influence other people to our way of thinking that is selling. So if you apply that same notion, whether you’re a kid who looks to mow someone’s lawn and you go and you talk to your neighbor and you negotiate that you’re going to get 10 bucks to mow that lawn. By definition you’re an entrepreneur. You’re in business. Now it’s for self business, ultimately what you want to do is you want to transcend that.
See, the only way that you’re making money in business is when you’re actively working. That’s good but it’s not the ideal, what to do is uncover passive sources of income. So in other words if you’re that kid and you get your brother and your cousin to a mow and you organize this so that you paid him five bucks and you keep the other five, you know your really in business. You know what I am saying? It’s like looking at plumbers having a plumbing business is a good thing. But what’s better? To be that plumber who has to go and do all that work and collect the money and everything else right or to have 20 plumbers working witch one is a better business?
Joe: I’d rather have 20 guys working.
Denis: You see, it’s about distribution. Why do you think McDonald’s makes so much money? See, they have literally over 13,000 points of distribution and they also own it. In any business you’ve got to look at the fundamentals and that’s what we’re talking about in the book, trying to put fun in the fundamentals. We’re trying to make it so that it’s not overwhelming for people.
Joe: So, what you’re saying is that if you want to transition into becoming a entrepreneur you need a different mindset?
Denis: Yes, it requires a different mindset. One of the challenges with the employee mindset is that society has programmed us to think this way typically. When do you work? 9-5. Right. When are your work days? Monday to Friday. So in other words. one of the challenges…let’s say somebody is starting a business and they have a loved one, and I’m not knocking the partner but this is where partnership is so important. We are not saying that if you have a life partner that he or she needs to be working with you but they need to be emotionally and intellectually supportive of the business.
Well, listen you know you can’t be working past five o’clock or Thursday night on your business or what are you doing this is Sunday afternoon. What you need to understand…the good news is that to be in business you only have to work half-time; half a days. Half a day is 12 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s half days.
Joe: Just like a farmer.
Denis: Exactly. A farmer is an entrepreneur. He or she understands there’s paid time, in other words if you’re going to milk those cows you’re up early in the morning; you’re going to milk those cows.
Denis: It’s no different with any other business. So if you are stuck with the mindset that it’s a 40 hour, Monday through Friday, weekends off, two to three, four weeks of paid vacation per year, you’re really setting yourself up for some heartache and frustration.
Joe: I’m an entrepreneur right now. That’s something that my wife and I constantly have a conversation around, especially my work hours. Right now it’s Easter Monday and people are supposed to be home and she’s released me to work. But how does somebody get their partner thinking the same way?
Denis: Before you go through the intellectual conversation of making the investment, as they say, “Okay, I’m going to give you the ‘Option B’ option”. They work 40 hours a week for 35 years and hopefully be able to retire or work 80 hours a week on the right opportunity for five to seven years and be retired and enjoy the rest your life.
Joe: Ill that any day and that’s a better deal.
Denis: Right! Now that’s an intellectual exercise. But before we even do that, what we suggest is you find some sort of commonality or common ground and the “Why”. Now, what we’re talking about here is what is your “Want”. Why go through all this? In other words, what is your fundamental raison d’être? Is it because you want to become financially free? Is it because you have a life mission? Maybe you want go and help third world people? I don’t know what it is. Or maybe in some families they want to break that chain of just getting by. Maybe they want to be the very first homeowners.
I don’t know and I don’t want to certainly judge. I don’t want to offer up my core values to somebody else. But what I’m saying to that person who’s entrepreneurial is you need to be clear with your Why. You need to fall in love with your Why. And if you have a life partner it’s not about bamboozling them or whatever but find the commonalities so that his or her why is in sync with yours. The moment you have clarity as two life partners and you both agree on the Why, these issues will resolve themselves.
You see, you know people would say it’s really tough being disciplined; it’s so easy to procrastinate. I’m going to give you a little story about babies, you probably read this in the book.
Joe: I love this story.
Denis: Okay, so you got a little baby crying because maybe they’re ill or colicky. So if baby is crying for multiple days nobody is having any sleep at night; it’s challenging right. So what happens is the caregiver mom or dad, or whoever is taking care of his little person, checks the bay and everything else in between; kid’s good. They put the baby down, look at everybody and do the death glare. Don’t you dare wake that baby. So you get the little kid down; talk to the Creator, “Dear Lord, I don’t ask for much, I just need a couple hours of sleep.” You put the baby down and what happens? “Waaaeh!!”
This is the critical moment of truth when baby’s crying. Do you say to yourself, child will probably not die? Do you call your coach life coach and say I need an intervention? Do you gather people around and have a committee meeting or do you get your sorry butt out of bed and take care of the baby or at least kick the person beside you and say it’s your turn? What do you do? Someone takes care of the little person. Why? Love. You have an unconditional love for this person so even if you’re grumpy and tired, you drag your sorry butt out of bed.
Now here’s our definition of being disciplined- “Do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons”. It’s simple. Procrastination is the failure to do the right thing at the right time for the wrong reason. So if you love that little person you’re going to get out of bed and take care of them. So here’s the thing. If you love your wife whatever it is. Procrastination is never the issue. You always be disciplined. You see mental toughness is reconnecting with your Why. If you want to be mentally tough when adversity hits reconnect with your why and you will always do the right thing at the right time for the right reason.
Denis : To come back to your great question, Joe. If you can get your life partner to share in that Why the excuses just fall away.
Joe: So we get this question asked often. How does a person who has a nine to five job transition into entrepreneurship?
Denis: There’s many different ways. You can look at maybe a micro-business that’s a part-time thing. For example, from one of our previous guests, the guy we knew who spent a lot of money on kites; the guy just liked flying kites. So we said, “Listen, instead of getting grief from your wife about flying all these kites, why don’t you turn into a paying micro-business? You’re passionate about kites, can you organize a kite flying day or kite building contest? He says, “Well, I’ve got this great design. So we asked, “Could you sell your awesome design online? Could you teach courses on YouTube that people can subscribe to? Could you?”
Allen and I gave him 10 different ways to make money off this instead of spending thousands and thousands of dollars. These are after tax dollars that he’s paid taxes on. Now he can actually have a micro-business he could be pulling money in. He can reduce his taxes because he’s got all these legitimate tax deductions for his business. It doesn’t even feel like work for him he’s doing what his passion about, he’s clear on his why he loves this stuff. All of sudden he’s and making ten or fifteen thousand dollars. You think he’s wife is not becoming more supportive.
Joe: She’s probably telling him to go fly a kite.
Denis: But it’s just that subtle little twist that makes all the difference.
So you can go in very sort of easily, test the waters without risking the house. Some people, their Why just become so big that they say look I don’t know how many years I have left in the planet, who I’ve got to make a difference for. For my legacy, for my children, for my cause? Whatever it is, they just don’t burn bridges, they blow them up. They say, “I’m going all in”. We’re not advocating one way or the other. All we’re saying is we feel that we all have, especially if your cause-driven, you have a moral obligation not to waste precious time.
You know they called the present a gift. It is. But we only have so much time. So if you live in the now and you’re doing what you should be doing then you start to get the sense of urgency and to not waste time and to make a difference with whatever your business calling is.
Joe: So in this book you talk a lot about the idea that you need to get your financial house in order before you to start a business. Talk a little bit about that.
Denis: Well, you know and that’s one of the pushbacks a lot of people…one of the concerns or stumbling blocks for a lot of would-be entrepreneurs is where do they get that start up capital. So in that section we talk about there’s various ways to get capital from Go Fund Me type accounts to having debt, to equity dilution. We talk about the pros and cons of all these but what you say is first and foremost. A lot of businesses actually could be affordable if you had your own money. But I don’t have my own money. Well there in lies a bit of a challenge and what we’re suggesting is before you go gets a loan or get an investor to throw some money in. You need to get your own financial house in order, for people that do not have their own finances in order that will just transcend and translate into their own business. Business will be a mess. So what we do is we try to demystify some of the things that you need to do to get finances in order. And again why do some people want to have a business because they want more money.
Well, one of the things that we say is you…I’m using this as a hypothetical. But if you can’t live on $100, you don’t worry about $200. By the time you get to $200 you are only going to get yourself in debt. Live within your means. “Living within your means living” doesn’t mean suffering. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. For example, coffee I like coffee but you see these lineups at Tim Hortons, Starbucks and whatever? That adds up when you start to realize how much you’re spending every single week on a coffee.
If you’re addicted to that brand of coffee, why not go to the store and get the big tin of it and make it yourself? You’ll save a fortune. It’s these little things. You can still have that coffee that you love at a fraction of the price. It’s the little things that make a difference and when you start getting in the habit of these things and then you say, “Okay, with this money I’m saving. I’m going to start doing something smart with it or start investing”. It could be into mutual funds or specific stocks ETFs. It could also be in accelerating your debt and work could be investing with your education so you can explore entrepreneurship more. You can beef up or improve your selling skills, whatever the case may be. Right. So there’s many things you can do. One of the things you could do is maybe connect with a very powerful mentor, and you know one of the things I did very, very early is creative thinking. This is before a lot of my own businesses. I wanted to really become very experienced in HR matters.
But I mean I was so young didn’t have the credentials. So I just said look I’m a starving student. That’s OK. I can be a starving student for a little bit longer. So I said to a guy I applied for a job as a senior aide H.R. person without the experience and the guy goes well you don’t have the experience. I’ll tell you what. Don’t pay me. Hire me for a couple of weeks if I don’t prove my value. He was a lawyer I said you write up the contract to your satisfaction. By the end of the period of time you’re not happy you don’t owe me anything. I’ll leave. But at the end that time if you like what I’ve done if I brought you value you then let’s negotiate the proper wage. That was entrepreneurial thinking to get a job and that job experience actually launched a bunch of my businesses. So just think outside of the box a little.
Joe: So what would you tell a young guy or gal? What would you say about the information age that we’re living in and the fact that so many people are spending thousands of dollars trying to make it online.
Denis: What I would say is remember the most significant fundamental. They call this social media. So let’s take the first word “social”. Let’s remember what mama taught us. Now when we went to a party as a little kid and we didn’t come in. Hopefully we didn’t because our mom would not put up with it saying, “Hey, it’s me. Everybody loves me. Let’s talk about me, me, me, me, me, me… and it’s Freddy’s birthday. We have to remember our manners. So social media is no different if you get on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. It doesn’t matter if you start hard selling; people will avoid you. Remember we have to remember our social manners. So whether we’re offline, online it doesn’t matter. Remember to engage people; to bring value to the conversation. Then people will follow you then people will be interested in what you have to offer. In fact, Joe you and I were talking the day remember our manners be social with that media, bring value if your business makes sense they will follow.
“People just are embarrassed to face facts. And regardless of your age, if you still have a breath in your body you still have an opportunity to start changing the direction of that ship. If you’re not happy with the direction it’s going there are resources out there where you can change it. It’s never too late.”
Joe: That’s incredible. So a section in the book you talk about 20/20 vision for the perfect business today and the year 2020 and beyond. Can you talk about that?
Denis: It’s about having 20/20 vision. And when you go through that list and you know what the point of it is, it lets us look at different ways of getting in business. You can start a business from scratch; there’s pros and cons to that. You can buy an existing business. You can franchise. You can do some micro-business through direct marketing. You can try to start this huge corporation with a public offer. There’s so many things you can do. But but what we say is it doesn’t matter what type of business you’re thinking about. If you use these 20 criteria of the perfect business for the year 2020 and beyond, you’ll be able to take that idea or do an analysis of that idea and really see how it stacks up against the disruptors, against the fundamentals of running a real business.
Joe: Wow, that’s incredible. So when I opened up the book you make this audacious statement. I thought, “Wow”. It’s your money back guarantees; I’ll read it. “We’re so confident in the financial freedom strategies outlined in this book that we’re offering a full money back guarantee as follows. If after reading or adopting all the principles of financial freedom online this book you do not make or save at least 100 times the purchase price of this book in the first year. We will happily refund your money and you even get to keep the book.”
Denis: It’s that simple. No gotchas. No legal speak. We are that confident with the material in all of our books, and all of our financial books. My first book the ABCs of Making Money came out early in 2001. That guarantee in there and literally we’ve had millions of readers of these books of course. And we’ve never had anyone come back to us and that offer is there. The bottom line is that the fundamentals are true when you know the truth is the truth. What we found is that anybody who applies even a fraction of the principles, their life gets exponentially better in these areas.
Joe: So what do you tell that guy or gal who they are just afraid to even address their finances? They know they’ve got bills. They’ve got all this stuff but they’re just avoiding it. They’re avoiding it. Do you have some encouraging words from the years of working in this industry. What would you recommend?
Denis: Well, first of all I’d say let’s look to the laws of physics and whether you believe it or not. If I drop my iPhone right now on the floor that’s not a good idea, is it not? There’s something called, gravity. Does gravity work? Very much. The thing about the laws of physics also apply to finances; ignoring it doesn’t solve the problem.
You know there’s a myriad of reasons for it. One is that there’s a lack of financial awareness out there. Also people think it can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Books like this can navigate people in a very common sense non-threatening way how to really look at their finances and get on the right path. A part of it also is embarrassment. People just are embarrassed to face facts. And regardless of your age, if you still have a breath in your body you still have an opportunity to start changing the direction of that ship. If you’re not happy with the direction it’s going there are resources out there where you can change it. It’s never too late. This is where you get the power of compound interest. The sooner you start changing things the more time you’ll have to reap all the benefits. So procrastination never pays.
Joe: So you make a statement which I thought was pretty interesting. Pay yourself first. What do you say to the person who’s in debt?
Denis: What we’re saying is start saving an amount and start investing an amount right from the get go. A lot of people will say, I will do that with the money that’s left over”. Well, inevitably if you’re not living within your means there will never be enough money left over.
So what we’re saying is put that money aside first and even if it’s $25 a month to start, something small, and get in the habit of doing that. Think of it this way. If you say, “Okay, I have no choice, I have to make the car payment or else they take my car or I have to put my money aside to pay my groceries or I don’t eat”, well here’s the reality- if you don’t put money away for your future you have no future.
Joe: Wow. Well said.
Denis: It’s that simple.
Denis: When you start to realize that your future is as important as General Motors or BMW or your car company or whoever you owe money to, or the grocery store, because that is the reality if you don’t look at that you do not take your future as being as important as it is.
Joe: Well, I think just having this conversation with you was life transforming and we’re going to recommend it as a must read to our community at SHIFTER Magazine.
Denis: Yes, so we’re doing our soft launch very early in May, in fact May 3rd, and starting May 3rd online you will be able to order the book. And it’ll be real simple to go to abcguys.com on there you just see a visual of the book from the landing page. Click on it and depending on what country you are in it will tell you where to go to.
Joe: That’s incredible. Thank you again for your time. Again, it’s been incredible and I wish you great success.
Denis: Thank you. Awesome show. Thank you.