Welcome To the Join Up Dots Podcast with Mike Volkin
Introducing Mike Volkin
Today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots show is Mr Mike Volkin, who is big on freelancing and making this approach work for others.
As he says “I have built and sold 4 companies and wrote 5 books (one-best seller).
I recently launched Freelancer Masterclass to empower all those who side-hustle who want to make real income (that will replace their full-time job..)
But he wasn’t always as focused on this as you might expect.
Leaving the Stephen F Austin State University with a master of science, environmental science and biology in 2000, he moved through several marketing positions within the corporate world for nearly twenty years.
But as we see time and time again, an idea was brewing until it couldn’t be denied anymore and he gave birth to that idea and made it real.
How The Dots Joined Up For Mike
That was Freelancer Masterclass in April 2019, which is a 9 step course that is 100% online.
The courses contain video content, homework and quizzes.
Along with the courses are interactive student chat boards and live bi-weekly classes so you can continue your education and interact with students and instructors.
The instructors at Freelancer Masterclass are the best…of the best….of the best.
These are freelancers who have proven themselves to be a master in their field.
So was this idea one that once launched was perfect from the beginning or did it grow over a period of time?
And why did it take so long for this action taking to truly start in earnest?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Mike Volkin
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Mike Volkin such as:
Mike shares how he used to try to function on less than four hours sleep per night and how it made him reassess.
Mike reveals how he once spent over $40,000 on a website before ever checking to see that it was market fit. Big mistake
How 30% of the worlds population are now freelancing across the world, a figure that is expanding every year.
Mike shares how his passion has changed dramatically when the entrepreneurial bug really beat into him and the steps that he took.
How To Connect With Mike Volkin
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Interview Transcription For Mike Volkin Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Once upon a time, there was a guy with a dream, a dream to quit his job support himself online and have a kick ass life. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt, until he found the magic ingredient and no struggles became a thing of the past. I of course, was that person. And now My dream is to make things happen for you. Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young that we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be, but somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling in Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:52]
Yes. Hello, man. Good morning, everybody. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning and welcome to another power fueled inspirational moment. combinational conversational episode of Join Up Dots. As you would expect if you’ve been listening to Join Up Dots over the last six years. That’s what we deliver and we’re going to deliver it again to you. But today’s guest joining us on the show is big on freelancing and making this approach work for others. As he says, I’ve built and sold four companies and wrote five books one bestseller, and I recently launched Freelancer masterclass to empower all those who side hustle who want to make real income that will replace their full time job. But it wasn’t always as focused on this, as you might expect, leaving the Stephen F. Austin State University with a Master’s of Science, environmental science and biology in 2000. He moved through several marketing positions within the corporate world for nearly 20 years. But I guess as we see time and time again, an idea was brewing until it couldn’t be denied anymore, and he gave birth to that idea and made it real. Now that was Freelancer masterclass in April 2019. Which is a nine step course that is 100%. Online. The course contains video content, homework and quizzes. Along with the courses are interactive student chat boards and lively bi weekly classes. So you can continue your education and interact with students and instructors. Instructors at Freelancer master class are the best of the best of the best. These are freelancers who have proven themselves to be a master in their field. So what’s this idea one that once launch was perfect from the beginning? Or did it kind of come out a bit ugly and grow over a period of time? And why did it take so long for this action truly to start taking shape? Right now as we bring on to the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Mike Volkin. Good morning Mike. How are you?
Mike Volkin [2:50]
That was quite the introduction. I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on a longtime fan.
David Ralph [2:54]
I’ve we picked you up because when we first connected you was all floaty and all relaxed and you said you’ve just you just been Busy meditating, I don’t think you can be busy meditating. But you’d certainly sounded like you’d got the benefits of it.
Mike Volkin [3:07]
Yeah, I’m really into meditating now, because I’m just getting to the point where I’m good enough that it’s making a positive impact and on my stress and my time management, so I try to do it before guest podcasts like this and other other live events. So it’s, it really helps me out.
David Ralph [3:24]
Now, I’m going to jump straight into this because my listeners will have heard me mentioned this, I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I, I kind of expect to be floating three feet off the off the floor. And then somebody the other day said to me know, as long as you’re sitting there relaxed, then that’s meditation as well. It doesn’t have to be rolling white eyeballs, and sort of weird things happening. What do you do? How do you get into it? Is it just sort of just relaxing and then just thinking about things?
Mike Volkin [3:54]
Yeah, the best part about meditation is you really can’t do it wrong. You just got to stick with it. It’s kind of like going to the gym the first few times. You go it kind of feels weird and uncomfortable and different. You know, first time I meditated, I’m like, What am I doing in this empty room by myself, it kind of felt weird. But then, uh, you know, you stick with it. And after three weeks and four weeks, it’s kind of you feel a little bit of some of the benefits. And then you just like going to the gym after a couple months, you start to see some noticeable changes. So really, what I do is I just, I sit in a room, I actually use an app called headspace. There’s lots of apps out there, there’s one called clear that’s very positive, that’s very unpopular. But really, I just let the guided meditation, meditation and voice just do its thing for 10 to 15 minutes, I just sit there, I make sure I don’t lay down a lot of people make that mistake is they just they lay down, they get to relax. But with meditation, you want to be up and alert, I sit in a chair, and I just let my thoughts and my brain go with the flow and take it where it may and at the end of 10 minutes I just feel a lot more relaxed, a lot more focus, which is the big thing. And I really think now it’s getting to a point where it’s it’s almost an investment on my time. If I don’t do it, I kind of feel unproductive.
David Ralph [5:02]
Yeah, now I agree with you. I went through a big phase of Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle and got into some terrible condition. Now my thing is sleep, I get as much sleep as I can humanly squeeze into me. And you know, I just don’t see it as a waste of time. I used to, I used to. So were you ever that kind of entrepreneurial idiot, but so many of us are where we go, I only need three hours sleep a month, and I can still function where you’ve ever that kind of guy.
Mike Volkin [5:33]
Yeah, you know, I mentioned I was a fan of the show, and I know I’m going to be doing a sermon on the mic. So that’s one of the things I was mentioning is one of the big mistakes, or actually that’s one of the things I will mention. During that sermon on the mic segment is one of the big mistakes I made when I was a serial entrepreneur still am but when I was really trying to build and sell companies fast, I was just working nonstop and I would lose sleep. I at best get four hours of sleep, trying to bring a product or service to market as fast possible. I know now, the real way to do it correctly is the exact opposite of Oh, hey, I did it.
David Ralph [6:05]
Now, what do we buy into that then Mike, why? Why does everybody either go through that? Is it to prove that they’ve actually committed? Because I kind of feel that that’s the answer. We all kind of think, well, we can’t say that women entrepreneur, we can’t say we’re starting a business unless we put any effort in. So let’s really put the effort in.
Mike Volkin [6:25]
Yeah, it’s almost like inspiration, you know, you get this inspiration, like you want to quit your job or you want to build a business or whatever is inspiring you and motivating you. And it’s human nature, just to go all in 100% and really go after it, especially for someone who’s entrepreneurial minded. But the real thing to do is pace yourself, you know, I’m a big tennis player, I, I play competitively. And, you know, what I want to do is I want to swing as fast as I can at every ball and hit the ball as hard as heck. But the real way to get the most control and most power out of the ball is to is to control your arm. It’s kind of the same way with an entrepreneur. You don’t go all in and Go fast, like like a sprint. You want to pace yourself and be smart about it.
David Ralph [7:05]
Now, let’s get you into the freelancer world because that’s why I invited you on the show because I, I like the idea of freelancing as a step towards entrepreneurship. I now after going through it, I think a lot of people could really do with being in the freelancer world for a couple of years as a tester to actually going out on their own. Would you agree?
Mike Volkin [7:31]
Absolutely. There’s a term, you know, side hustlers. As you can imagine, it’s a very popular gig economy. It’s just getting so popular. It’s I think, I saw a stat was an infographic by upwork.com, which is the largest Freelancer platform in the world, they, they had said that over 30% of people worldwide who have full time jobs, do some kind of side hustle. So it’s getting super popular and now, companies are starting to be more in tune to hiring freelancers, as opposed to two full time employees. So who knows What the next 10 or even 20 years will bring for the gig economy. Now,
David Ralph [8:04]
one of the reasons I like the freelancer world is it helps people develop their skills without having to try to get customers because that is the fundamental difference between having a business and really having a business people will sit there in a pub going, yes, what I’m going to do is do this and do that. And they kind of think of it as a kind of visual sense of, yes, I’m going to get a website, I’m going to get some business cards, but they don’t really grasp the fact of how difficult it is in the early days to get customers. So we’ve freelancing sites like Upwork and all the other ones. A lot of that is taken away from them, isn’t it and a lot of it naturally comes from
Mike Volkin [8:45]
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s easy and it’s also hard to be a freelancer. I mean, the more you do it, the more you’ll find it easy but getting started is the hardest part. It’s you know, I referenced going to the gym, getting started is the hardest part right is actually making a commitment. You know, the way I got started With a certain skill set that makes me a good amount of money as a freelancer is I just read a couple books, you know, I mean, I was a marketer for a while. And I wanted to get into the technical side of search engine optimization. So I just started reading all the best books I could find on search engine optimization. And then I got a couple clients that way, just just from the knowledge I got from books, and that was several years ago. Now there’s great sites out there like EU to me, and you know, those sites with courses even, you know, my own site. And, you know, there’s ways that you can learn online from, from the best people in the world that will bring you video instruction step by step courses. I mean, there’s so many research sources out there that you just really have to pick what you really are passionate about, and go with it and not just pick something because it’s popular because someone else told you you should get into it. I
David Ralph [9:46]
mean, a simple way to actually pay for it. Now. I think, you know, I know YouTube’s out there. I know YouTube’s good, but I do think laser focused content developed, kept up to date, which is a key thing as well is worth paying for and there’s a company out there I can’t think what they’re called you’re gonna know who visa Mike I’m sure we’ve got like Gordon Ramsay doing a cookery class for you and Steve Martin
Mike Volkin [10:11]
David Ralph [10:12]
master class of a year ago. And you look at that and you think, Well, why wouldn’t you pay for that? Why wouldn’t you have Mr. Ramsey teaching you something? You’re not going to get that kind of knowledge elsewhere? Well, yeah.
Mike Volkin [10:24]
Yeah, I mean, there’s there’s YouTube obviously, we can go and you can see scattered information, you can type in a keyword, you’ll get a video or two on the topic here and there. But the reason why I did masterclass is because it’s a step by step course progression with actual resources spreadsheets that I use in my everyday business, you know, homework assignments and quizzes to track your progress. You just not going to get that on, on sites where you’re watching a video or two on a particular topic, every now and then. So what’s really popular is these masterclass style of courses where it’s just leading the, the viewer through one specific step at a time and then by the end, you’re Kind of progressive this whole course. And now you’re just, you know, a rock star whatever you’re doing with with my masterclass Freelancer masterclass, it’s a nine step course. So you finish one you don’t start on Step three, you start in step one for a reason. And then you go on to two, three and four that way.
David Ralph [11:15]
Now one of the things of course, we are going to be talking about that, but one of the things that interests me about you is I do my homework, and I go and I delve around, and I could see that you you left University in 2000, and being your LinkedIn profile starts about 2010. And I’m intrigued by that 10 year what what were you doing? Well, you were you flew in around California getting drunk and surfing, what were you doing?
Mike Volkin [11:42]
That was last week. So I was I graduated and I played the corporate game for a while, you know, my father was a scientist and I kind of liked science in high school. So I figured what the heck I’ll study science, environmental science and college, got a couple degrees, got a dual bachelor’s degree and then I got a master’s degree. Then I went out and I spent time doing some environmental consulting, and I freaking hated it. I mean, I liked the work. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t my passion. I mean, I was just living the weeks living the months that year by year went by, and I just, I just wasn’t, it wasn’t doing it for me, you know? So
David Ralph [12:17]
it wasn’t a mic looking back on it now, why wasn’t it because, you know, okay, you can float through, you get paid, you get a Christmas bonus or whatever. Why wasn’t it doing it for you?
Mike Volkin [12:27]
You know, it was more along the lines of people telling me when I could go on vacation when I needed to go to work when I could leave. But really, the big thing was my life’s purpose. You know, I started thinking about when people look down on my grave at my funeral, what what am I going to be known for? Is it for the bed, I worked for 20 years for this company. I mean, what I was doing, honestly, as a scientist, especially as an environmental scientist, and I would I would travel all over the country, and I would write reports for comfort corporations and factories to tell them how much they can pollute within the law. And, you know, that wasn’t my whole purpose. This one was to tell companies how much they could literally pollute within the law of their of their state or the federal government. And I would help clean up certain sites, what’s called Superfund sites. But, you know, ultimately, I mean, my passion just changed. I went from wanting to, you know, help the earth and being a lab and do measurements and studies to get that entrepreneurial bug that once once that hits you that hits your heart and hasn’t let go sense
David Ralph [13:25]
because I remember when the bug hits me. And it was just the fact that I started looking around. And I think for many years, and I’ve referenced this a lot when I started work, I’m an older man when you Mike, but when I started in 1986, there was no internet. There was no email, there was nothing. So you basically were quite content. Looking back on it. There was no mobile phone. You just went to work. The old way of a big pile of paper, and then at the end of it, it was like just go home. But once you start looking around and seeing what other people are doing and what other people are sharing claim to fame, why not me? And it’s the big part of my life that I think, why do other people not feel like that? You know, why is that person just beeping things through beep beep at the supermarket? Why are they just content to sit there? Why Why haven’t they got that spoke?
Mike Volkin [14:20]
Yeah, you know, some people, the vast majority of people are like that, you know, I mean, my wife is one of those people who loves her job. She likes going in at eight she loves you know, getting off at five and she likes her off time and she likes her vacation time. There’s no fault to you know, people who liked that. But there are a lot of us millions and millions of us who just get that sense of, you know, what would it be like if I put this product to market I’ve always had this idea in my head for a book I’ve, I wonder if my extra knowledge I have on I don’t know, football coaching could make me some money and then once you get a taste, in my experience once you get a taste of being your own boss and working your own hours and work Wherever you want in the world, I mean, there’s just no comparison to corporate life. You can give me all the vacation time and salary you want. There’s, there’s no no going back for me to corporate life. No, I
David Ralph [15:10]
agree 100% just the fact that I don’t have to book holiday, I just kind of go and we can use don’t really mean anything to me. They just have a blend into one. And there are restrictions, you know, we’re not getting to get away from the fact that it’s just a walk in the park because he’s not. And we’re going to come back to that shortly. Here’s Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey [15:30]
The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment. You know, you’re not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you because failure is just there to point You in a different direction.
David Ralph [16:01]
Now I remember walking around in the early days thinking, oh my god, everything’s going to go terrible. Nobody’s going to buy this, nobody’s gonna buy that. And by weren’t they weren’t buying anything in the early days and I think it was kind of there was a desperation to me. There wasn’t that Tom aim of bedding in an understanding actually what your value is you’re just trying to pay bills. But I also look back on it, Mike. And this is where I’m leading with this question that even though I walked around thinking, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god never turned up. I always found a way through. I always manage to do something to pay that month’s bills or find it from some other source. Do you look back at those kind of fledgling days when you fall? It was all a pack of cards and actually think I think it was a lot more stable than I imagined.
Mike Volkin [16:53]
He Yeah, that’s a really good example. And I love that quote from Oprah. It’s um, it’s all about goals. You know? It’s amazing what you can accomplish even if you think something isn’t going to happen. And that’s, you know, one of the things I talked about meditation, but I’m also into self talk positive self talk that helps as well. You know, somebody approaching a task, or even a goal as something you can’t do. It’s amazing what your brain is capable of. And, you know, there’s a goal a right way to do goals in a wrong way. When I tell my Freelancer students to make goals, they usually just come back with a yearly revenue number. And I’m like, no, that’s not a goal. You can’t evaluate a goal after a full year, you have to break them up into smaller chunks. So just like what Oprah was saying, you know, don’t just look at the big picture, look at what it’s going to take to chunk that out into smaller pieces of goals. So one goal should be 10 or even 20 separate goals that are very attainable, but still challenging. That’s the true way to make progress.
David Ralph [17:48]
episode eight of Join Up Dots. Six years ago, this was before I launched was a lady called Pamela slim. Now I’d never heard of Pamela slim and once I got her on the show a lot of people said to me Oh, how did you get her on the show and in those days I was just sending emails out willy nilly to people but they always remembers that she said but what she does with all her clients who are stuck is break down everything into those tiny little dots you know those tiny little chunks so it’s not like right create a website and do this and do that too big. First of all it is you know, get a comfortable chair get your pens and paper you know tiny little tiny micro steps but lead you along that garden path and then you can quite easily build up build up progress because I think with what you’ve done and what so many people do, it frightens other people because they see the end sexy product and they don’t see the ugly beginning
Mike Volkin [18:46]
Yeah, I mean look at any social media influencer with 5 million followers, making making their hundred thousand dollars a year on YouTube that you look at that and it’s intimidating, but it took lots of milestones to get to that point and lots of individual goals. So, you know, it’s, it’s about making those goals but making them attainable. I had a client, a student who wanted to write a book and said, you know, Mike, how did you write five books? And I said, What is your book going to be about? And he told me and I didn’t quite understand. So I said, you know, what, can you do me a favour and just write the Table of Contents as if you know, you’d be explaining it to me just write out the main chapters. And then he came back to me, he’s like, okay, here’s the table of contents. You know what I did, I actually wrote out the first first chapter as well, because I started getting into it. Once I wrote the table of contents and things started getting very clear. In my mind, I’m like, see, that’s, that’s how you do it. You were thinking about writing a book as it being a huge task. But all I did was I asked you to write the Table of Contents out, and now it’s starting to form a book on its own. So you can take that analogy and form it to any tasks that you might have in your plate. Now, anybody listening, if there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do that you’re kind of always put there’s always something that seems to be a priority over it, but it’s something that you’ve been thinking about for years. You know, it’s time just to take the smallest possible chunk and just just start doing it. Our goal this week to do something towards that, that chunk to get that started and you’ll be surprised that it will be like a, like a rolling snowball downhill. It takes a little bit of effort to get that snowball forms. But once it starts going downhill, it’s going to pick up steam on its own.
David Ralph [20:12]
Because I’m always blown away, Mike, I teach people how to build rocking and rolling online businesses that sort of change their lives. And I would say 95% of them turn up and they say, Oh, I bought URL already. I bought a domain name already. And I go well, what have you done now because you haven’t defined your avatar you haven’t defined your your goals, you haven’t defined your offer. And I guarantee that’s going to change as you proceed through. And I suppose what it is it’s that enthusiasm to let’s get going. But most of them won’t give up that URL over. You know, it’s about $9 and even though I say to them, Look, there’s a bad one out there we can really get some traffic we can really get a brand going. They still want cling to that. That’s strange, don’t you think? I don’t actually understand why I’ve never asked them but they seem strange to me.
Mike Volkin [21:07]
Yeah, that’s where the experience of being an entrepreneur comes in. I mean, you got a growth hack that kind of stuff, why build out a website and, and I made those mistakes before I spent $40,000 building a business once before I even took it to market and then I realised once I started getting some customers that it wasn’t the, the exact product market fit that they were looking for. But you know, it’s just a matter of prioritising what needs to be done website very rarely comes first and like you said avatar, Product Market Fit competitive research that kind of stuff needs to be done but you know, that’s sexy is to get a website and get a domain and now you feel official. And if that’s okay, if it’s something cheap and quick like getting a website, at least a domain, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t I would avoid building out a full website before you have all that other all your other ducks in a row,
David Ralph [21:52]
because only become fascinated recently about IP addresses. Now it just sounds boring, but I’m fascinated by Every single person has now got the ability to get different search results from Google because Google is so focused on local search, because that’s the power. And I’m, I’m obsessed with this concept that every town is a market in itself, every street, and you start with looking at the people next door to you, more than you look across the globe. You know, I just find it fascinating. When I’m driving around my town thinking there’s a market, there’s a market and every single person has got the ability to dominate. Now, if we save that, why is it then that a lot of people think that it’s more difficult than it is because it’s not they’re the only ones really living in that area? But you’ve got the the lion’s share right at the very beginning? Is it knowledge, or is it belief, Mike?
Mike Volkin [22:52]
I think it’s a combination of both but isn’t it amazing? You’re talking about, you know, in the at starting businesses in the 90s and I was starting in the Early 2000s it’s like, I would have never imagined that I could run a Facebook or a Google ad that would target a specific neighbourhood in, you know, anywhere in my town or anywhere across the United States. I can get super specific if I wanted to target. You know, a freelancer who is specifically in California who makes is a side hustler in she does writing like, I could target that exact person for an exact course that I have. I mean, it’s, it’s just amazing the opportunities that are available now and where it’s going in the future is even more amazing. I mean, with all this mobile technology, what cars have Wi Fi now, I mean, who knows where advertising is going to be five or 10 years from now, but it’s certainly a lot different than just opening up the Yellow Pages, what we did a few decades ago, and that was literally your marketing department is where you are listed in the yellow pages.
David Ralph [23:45]
So we take you back to the freelancer route. Are we now saying that the freelancers I’ve got even more opportunity because of what we’ve just discussed, or have a better to, to go across the world and a better become global and I better to join up work and all these different sites but their network reach.
Mike Volkin [24:07]
Yeah, I know a lot of freelancers who just work in their area locally, there’s something to be said about that. I live in Sonoma County in California. And there’s a big wine region here, we produce a lot of the world’s wine. And I know freelancers who are specific to working, just the wineries, and they are not interested in anything else other than outside of Sonoma County and Napa County out here that produces the fantastic wine. But then there’s people like me, I’ve worked with clients in over 20 countries, and I love it. I think that’s great. I’m working with a website right now. And Saudi Arabia is a women’s clothing company of all companies. And it’s just fascinating the cultural differences and the marketing challenges that that appear because of that particular region. And I think that part of the marketing is fun for me is making new challenges working in countries with their different, you know, business customers and stuff. So, you know, it really depends on what your specialty is and where you want to market. So, but there’s definitely opportunities. Everybody is unique. Everybody has certain interests and skill sets. And anybody can do freelancing in my opinion. No matter how experienced or unexperienced you are, no matter what white collar, blue collar collar job you are, there’s somebody out there who will pay you for your time, given your knowledge.
David Ralph [25:18]
This is Mike Vulcan, and we will be back with Mike after these words. Are you ready to make a full time living online? Check out the amazing Join Up Dots business coaching. Hello, my name is Alan. And I’ve just completed the excellent eight week course with David
Unknown Speaker [25:34]
before I started working with David Actually, I had no idea at all, where to start. I had a lot of ideas about what I probably thought was going to be good in business. David was out to help me through that though, to find that passion. Within literally minutes. We had
Unknown Speaker [25:52]
we had a business idea and for the last seven weeks, we’ve been building on it and building on that and the
Unknown Speaker [25:57]
position I’m in now I don’t think I’ve ever got here. Oh my
Unknown Speaker [26:00]
because of the amount of information that David gives the structure, he’s got the full package here. And he explains it in a way that I can understand. His support is is phenomenal. I feel like this is the way business is supposed to work.
Unknown Speaker [26:15]
David helped me understand, okay, what would the logical steps that I should do? How? How can I get this up and running? So I would really recommend this as an excellent course helping you if you have an idea if you have no idea, really teasing that out. And at some of the practicalities and steps to take to really launch your business, whether as a full time job was a side hustle. So it was really excellent. I recommend it for anybody thinking about setting up their own business. But both it’s an exaggeration to say David will totally save you, us.
Unknown Speaker [26:44]
Thank you, David, for all your amazing help and support which keeps on going. And we certainly couldn’t be where we are today without you so your author,
David Ralph [26:55]
so if you would love to become my next success story and have your own life changing online. Business following my step by step system, fine tuned over many years to take away the effort and expense that are the struggle with Ben come across to Join Up dots.com and book a free call with myself. Let’s get you living the easy life as it’s there waiting for you to get it. That is Join Up dots.com business coaching. Now, Mike Vulkan if we take you back to something that you said beforehand about doing your research, doing competitive research, market research, to me, that sexy time that excites me, I love nothing more of an crunching a spreadsheet with keywords and phrases and seeing where I’m going to rank on Google and stuff before I ever set foot because you can build the whole success plan beforehand, can’t you?
Mike Volkin [27:52]
Yeah, there’s an amazing amount of data that’s online now. It’s crazy the amount of information you can get out of certain companies just by doing Some basic searches. It’s really exciting.
David Ralph [28:02]
And do you look at it and kind of think to yourself, you know, there’s too much data because now you can dice it and splice it, and you can add some person, you know, some lesbian in India to walk the dog on a Monday morning, you know? Is it too precise?
Mike Volkin [28:19]
Yeah, that’s a that’s a good example. You know, the term analysis of paralysis is very real. You could spend your entire day there’s a, there’s a concept, I think it’s called parados principle where you spend your entire day at work will fill its own time, right? So you can spend your whole day just clicking around filling out spreadsheets at some point. You just got to understand that you’re either done and the enemy enemy is the perfection of done is that the is that the phrase? You know, just yeah, you have to just know what, what the scope of the work is that you’re trying to do. Like for me when I do competitor analysis, it’s all about marketing communications, what are my competitors saying to their prospects to their customers, and how can I be different or how Can I emulate that, I usually don’t go too much into the the data of you know how I can rank on Google, you know, my marketing efforts will, will take care of that in various chunks. But I look when I’m growing a company, I look to see where I can fit in that quadrant of, you know, what my competitors are saying and how I can be on the other side of the quadrant there. So everybody looks at a different you’re more of a spreadsheet guy and more of a marketing communication guy, but there’s no real bad approach there. It’s just a matter of doing it, but not getting too deep in the weeds where it’s going to take you away from the the highest value of your time, which is competitive analysis is good, which is the key point, as you say,
David Ralph [29:40]
you are focused on your time so you’re looking for the best results over time. And you know, I talk about myself a lot because I it’s my bloody show, so I’m going to, but I look back over the the years and I spent a tonne of time doing stuff just because other people were doing it, you know, Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter. And all these things and there’s evidence of Join Up Dots everywhere. And I totally missed the point of ultimately, is a connection with me and a person. And if that person can believe in you, and they trust in you, then you’re likely to sign them up into a claim. Now, when I started, it was all about the dream of, yeah, somebody’s just gonna buy this and it’s automatically going to happen and stuff. And yes, it does, you know, and you make a reasonable living, but to become good and to become a voice in this space. I do think that it all comes down to actually talking to people and connecting with people. And just from talking to you here, I get a flavour but you’re somebody that actually gets out and does that talks to real life people would be right.
Mike Volkin [30:48]
Yeah. People don’t buy products or services. They buy stories. Stories are the foundation for businesses.
Rules of sales. You ever see that movie Wolf of Wall Street, I’m sure you have right
David Ralph [31:01]
Talk about mic You sound like your mouth were close the kitchen. I I you disappearing from us.
Mike Volkin [31:06]
Oh, sorry. You know, I was just adjusting my microphone. I guess that made a big difference. I was saying people don’t buy products and services, they buy stories. So I was referencing The Wolf of Wall Street and some of their that. Have you seen that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio? The Wolf of Wall Street?
David Ralph [31:22]
I would like to explore. Yeah, I was, you know, I think Yeah, so it’s a long road. Yeah,
Mike Volkin [31:27]
it’s a great one. I mean, for a startup entrepreneur. Any startup entrepreneur should should read it, or should watch it. But the whole movie is about a quote, sell me this pen. So it’s about this guy, Jordan Belfort who, he’s now at a jail but he was in jail. He was a great salesman. And his whole concept was sell me this pen. Like why is this $2 pen Give me the most value can add it by selling and his big takeaway was people don’t buy products or stories, buy products or services. They buy stories. So you have to tie a story around that around that pen. You know, and I think of it like that whenever I’m creating a YouTube video or something, I don’t go so much into the features or benefits of a particular topic. But I go into why you want to adhere to this particular business practice, or why it’s going to be something good for your business, rather than taking somebody through the particular features. It emulates so much more with the user when you do something like that.
David Ralph [32:22]
But that yeah, that is the benefits, isn’t it? You know, people buy on emotion, they buy on emotion, and they justify later with the logic of why they actually paid. And I go to the movies or the pictures as we call it over here. And I would say 95% of the adverts, but I watch, I don’t understand what they’re actually advertising. I say to my son, what was what was that? And he says, I think it was a beer rapper. It’s really really strange how films and movies have gone so far into kind of artwork that I forgotten that actually best selling a product and Yeah, I look at it. I haven’t got a clue what is sending.
Mike Volkin [33:03]
It’s kind of weird that way. But the fact that you remember those commercials is what they’re the advertisers are hoping not not what they’re selling or anything but it’s a story behind it and the fact that you’re questioning what that what that commercial was about was probably their intent all along.
David Ralph [33:16]
If I can’t remember the product, I just remember I can’t even remember the advert. I just remember but I sit there bemused while I’m looking at it thinking, you know, yeah, she looks lovely. This woman but what the hell was he doing? I’ve got I’ve got no idea. So when we take you back into your fledgling business again, and you have sold How many of you sold four companies and wrote five books? Why did you build your first one? What was it about the first one that got the juices flowing for Mike?
Mike Volkin [33:46]
Honestly, I would indirectly attribute to my entrepreneurial, entrepreneurism to Osama bin Laden indirectly, indirectly. So I wasn’t expecting that. This is a story. I joined The Army or US Army after 911 after the terror attacks, three days afterwards, I had no history of the army. But I went ahead and joined. I just felt like I wanted to make a difference. So I came back from the army. And I had written a book while I was overseas in Iraq. And the book, it wasn’t really in book form. It was a bunch on a bunch of napkins actually handwritten, and the book was about basic training and on how I could have prepared for basic training better. So I wrote a book about like, how to deal with drill sergeants how to get ready for military, fitness, all that good stuff. And when I came back from overseas actually found a publisher and publish the book and that was my first foray into entrepreneurism. The book started selling I threw up a website, went to sleep, one after I launched the website at night, and I woke up at like six orders, and I’m like, wow, that was really cool. I made money while I was sleeping. Then I went to bed the next day and and woke up with like, 60 orders, and then I got featured on military.com I woke up with 1000 orders like wow, how am I going to fill 1000 No hurry. So I spent, like the next three or four days is like stuffing envelopes with, with books. And I’m like, wow, this marketing thing is really cool. So that was really how I got into building businesses. I turned that book into three books. And then I built a whole online membership site around preparing for basic training. That was one of the first companies I I wound up selling. But that was how I got into being a business owner is through the terror attacks really of 911. And and writing that book
David Ralph [35:28]
is interesting. It’s a similar story to the online legend that is Pat Flynn. Now when I started back in 2014, Pat Flynn was everywhere. I don’t see him much at all. Now I don’t know if I’m just not looking in the right direction. But he’s classic story was he got laid off from his architecture firm. And so to save the getting the information that he stored, he started putting it online, and then suddenly realised he was getting like 1000 people coming to that information and for Oh my God, I’ve got traffic and he’s holding Business built from there. Now, it amazes me how many people are also sitting on gold mines. And I always say to people, if you’re in a job that you don’t like, it’s damn science certain there’s going to be people that do like it, and they are going to want to do it. So you can give them the best advice you possibly can to get that job, you know. And that’s a business in itself transition from what you don’t like doing to making money based on the fact that what you don’t like doing, but more often people say to me now, I don’t want to do that. I did that. And I’ll go Yeah, but you can make instant money, which will then help you transition to what you really want to it’s the first dot. Now I don’t want to do I’ve done it and now it’s boring. I don’t like that attitude. Because I think that entrepreneurship is about extending your runway, and sometimes you’ve got to do things but you may not be part of the master plan, but allows the master plan to grow somewhat what’s up.
Mike Volkin [36:58]
Yeah, when I I’m an entrepreneur coach. And one of the things I make sure I don’t do is when somebody, a student comes to me with that attitude like, Yeah, well, I don’t know, they’re hesitant. I never push them in that direction. I give them a guidance. And I give them examples, and I give them stories. But unless they’re ready to really make a commitment, and tell me that, then I don’t push them into a direction they don’t want to go. But there’s a lot of hesitation around being an entrepreneur, even making your first couple dollars, even when someone knows they can make money selling a product that’s in their head. It’s that process of, you know, I’ve got to create a website and create the product and where am I going to ship it to? And what happens if there’s issues with the product? What am I going to do for returns, you know, all those thousands of questions that come floating around their head about creating this product. And you know, I think I saw this stat that 98% of all the inventions that are literally patented out there have never made any money is because people just get to the point where they got the patent and now they can like they can sell their product and do whatever they want with it. It’s theirs and they just they’re afraid Take it to the next level.
David Ralph [38:01]
Shocking, isn’t it? I haven’t heard that. Yeah. But I remember a stat that used to really frightened me. And it was something like only 2% of the people that had been on this planet will leave their mark. But they’ve been on this planet 98% of the people just come and go.
Mike Volkin [38:20]
Yeah, I heard no, I the same thing. I think I heard 3%. But 97% of people are employed by the 3% of people who, who take action and and make their dreams come true, really.
David Ralph [38:30]
I used to that there’s a wall that runs across the northern tip of England. And it’s called Hadrian’s Wall. And it used to stop the Scottish coming down. The Romans built it and it was like a protective barrier. And you can still see it. It’s still very even though it’s the Romans times and it’s a bit sort of broken down in places. But I remember as a child walking along that and looking down and thinking some Roman soldier has put that down there and I’m still looking at it today. And for sort of legacy Peace struck with me. And I think it’s something that I carried along with myself, where even though I was doing well, in corporate land, I was thinking, has it matter? You know, does it matter what I’m actually doing? And I used to go into business meetings, and board meetings. And it was all full of people that were too bothered about insurance. It was too bothered about banking and their quarterly targets. And I used to think he can honestly be as bothered as you’re making out, you know, who cares? who really cares. But they used to really play the card, but this was their life. This is what’s important to them. And I had to quit and sort of leave but yeah, that Roman brick, always sticks in my mind now does.
Mike Volkin [39:45]
Comfort is that’s a good analogy. But comfort is really easy. I mean, the middle class is generally comfortable with what they’re doing. And that’s easy. It’s easy to go through life and know that you can leave work at 5pm and go home and spend spend the rest of time doing what you’re doing and Saturday and Sunday’s yours your play days right and you kind of dread going to work on Mondays, but it’s the the entrepreneurs who, you know, look at the sky, for example and say what else is out there? What other planets have life? And is there life out there? If so, where? And if not, why not? You know, like the question everything and that’s where ideas are born and created, as you know, people that have that kind of entrepreneurial Spark.
David Ralph [40:21]
Now you’ve obviously got that entrepreneurial spark with freelance a master class, and there’s a lot of people out here that would be perfect for you. But what type of people do you think are gonna be actually interested in your course? What kind of people would it help?
Mike Volkin [40:37]
The most common student I get? Probably about 80% or 70% of my student makeup are side hustlers, who are doing a job that they kind of like or they completely hate, but they know that they want to make some extra money, maybe they aren’t getting the money they deserve. And maybe there’s just they get a change of interest. Maybe they were pushed into accounting You know, that’s what their degree And but now they want to change their career and and do something else. And also there is another contingent of that as a side hustler who has a friend who is doing great and he’s an entrepreneur and he wishes at that he can be like him and get kind of a little jealousy bug there but that’s that’s fine to be jealous. I’m still jealous of people by all means that I’m jealous of a lot of people. And that kind of drives me to make changes and keep doing what I’m doing and pushing, pushing on and pushing my goals but the most common people in my master class are people who are just in the corporate life and and want to start doing freelancing either part time or full time to make some nuts just so much so much money but to make a better life for themselves. You’d be surprised the first section of Freelancer masterclass is goal setting and we write down why why you’re doing what you’re doing and very rarely does money even come up. It’s more along lines of life purpose, interest level, spending more time with my kids stuff like that.
David Ralph [41:52]
You know, I don’t think I’m jealous of anyone. I think I’m apps I do not have the jealous gene in my body. I just don’t don’t reflect on
Mike Volkin [42:01]
Yeah, but it’s like money. I mean, jealousy isn’t isn’t bad, just like people. Some people say, you know, trying to get as much money as you can and life is bad. It’s not bad at all. It’s just, I mean, the way you approach it my pee pad. But jealousy is a good trade if it propels you to strive to be better as a person.
David Ralph [42:17]
I bloody love money. I do. And as you know, as long as I’m providing the best value, and people gain the best from me, you know, I love it. I’m like Scrooge McDuck, swimming around in my vault of cash.
Mike Volkin [42:32]
A lot easier to have money than not have money.
David Ralph [42:34]
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely is right. Let’s listen to the words of the late Steve Jobs who connected the dots. We say Join Up Dots. But this is what he says.
Steve Jobs [42:44]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to try that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:19]
So by the words that should be etched on everyone’s fridge.
Mike Volkin [43:24]
There’s a reason why he was so so famous. And he was a smart guy because of that reason. And that was a perfectly said phrase. I mean, you can’t connect dots moving forward, because the dots haven’t been formed yet. You gotta you gotta do it based on what you know from experience and what your confidence and belief level is.
David Ralph [43:40]
There’s a brilliant speech that Steve Jobs did. He was doing an apple speech and some guy got up in the audience. I don’t know if you’ve seen this and basically slags him off and says, you know, what have you been doing? You seem like a bright guy. I don’t trust you anymore. And Steve Jobs just sat quietly for about three minutes on this store and didn’t say anything and just got his his answer together. And as I was watching him, I thought that is the genius is not just spurted out it’s making sure that the dots make sense before I even left his mouth. I haven’t got that talent. I just opened my mouth and it comes flooding out. And I quite often Wish I could sit back and hold it in until it’s right. But it’s a fascinating speeches jobs did for that reason of actually reflecting on what the guy said, holding it back, making sure it made sense in his head and then delivering it to the world the same as his business process, I imagine.
Mike Volkin [44:39]
Yeah, I mean, look, one of the most important changes I made to my business as a freelancer was to let my prospects speak at when you’re freelancing, you have what’s called a discovery call with someone you just met, that needs to hire you, or is interviewing you basically. And what I used to do is I used to get on the phone I used to sell, sell, sell, sell right away. My name is Mike. I’ve built and sold these companies. I have experienced with this and that and competitor analysis, blah, blah, blah. And then I started thinking about how to sell and I started learning about it in the real way that you sell somebody. And this can apply across the world, not just freelancing, but any product or service, let your customer let your prospect talk, they will. They will tell you all of their pain points that they have. And they’re going to literally be handing you the solution to their problem. And all you really have to do is just let them talk. And then you can present your quote unquote case afterwards. But just jumping in and speaking too early and trying to sell yourself, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
David Ralph [45:36]
Yeah, it’s like the guilty man who the cop allows to speak and you can’t stop speaking because they’re just standing there looking at you. Yeah, just just allow it to happen. Well, this is a part of the show that we want you to speak because this is the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young MC, what age would you choose and what advice would you give him where we’re gonna find out? Because I’m going to play the music. And when it finds you out, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Mike Volkin [46:31]
Well, I’m 43 now and I’m gonna be talking to my 25 year old self. So Mike, you should have growth hacked and dipped your toes into the water before jumping all in. So I had a business. I had an idea for a company I mentioned earlier in the show, where I spent over $40,000, building it up, just to realise that it wasn’t the right product market fit. So I should have growth hack that and I could have done that in Less than $1,000 and not have to spend $40,000. Another thing I would say to myself, Mike, when you start your real estate company new franchise at the 15 offices, you should have stepped back a little bit instead of growing so fast growth is not the priority. I had, I had found myself with 15 Real Estate offices in five different states with next to no resources or competent staff to be able to handle the demand and in amongst itself, the company imploded. Luckily, I sold it but the company imploded because of that, and could have been something much, much greater than it was. So in a case where the business was great, but the execution was poor. So that is something else I would tell myself.
Unknown Speaker [47:44]
Another thing I would say is Mike,
Mike Volkin [47:47]
don’t work your butt off. You’re not being as productive as you think. Get a good night’s sleep as David says a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night because even missing one night asleep. ruins your ability to be productive and stay focused, so you are losing time and investment in your time is so much more important than an investment in money. Another thing I would tell myself is focus on your habits, habits such as positive self talk, meditation, creating the right focus and productivity. This all helped me organise my life and work and stay much more focused I can do now more than in one day more than most entrepreneurs do in two weeks because of the habits that I’ve developed. I’d also say Mike, think about an investment in your time rather than money because it’s easy to create money, but you can’t create time you can only manage it. If you can manage time then the money will come as a result and it could come at a virtually anywhere or anything that you could think up. In one last thing that I would tell myself is Mike, have a focus on helping others I focus my life now on helping others, with their businesses even volunteering my time in some cases to help budding entrepreneurs take that plunge from corporate life to self employed life. I love to give to charity, it’s probably the most grateful thing I have the reason that I wake up every morning, other than my family. I love giving to animal charities, charities that rescue animals that have meat trades, like dog meat trades, I give a lot to the soI soy dog foundation. All that makes me feel so good on the inside, which just infuses my in my personality and my competence, and helps me reach my goals better. So it is self serving in a little bit, but I would do it even if it wasn’t. It just gives a greater purpose to everything I’m doing. And that is my sermon on the mic.
David Ralph [49:50]
Great stuff. So So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you,
Mike Volkin [49:56]
Freelancer masterclass.com is my way Say,
David Ralph [50:01]
you know, I knew you were gonna say that. And I put all the links on the show notes to make it as easy as possible to jump over. And if you want to check him out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook will have all those links as well. Mike, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots, and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mike Volkin. Thank you so much.
Mike Volkin [50:27]
Thanks, David. been a pleasure.
David Ralph [50:31]
Mr. Mike volken. So if you’re interested in learning how to become a freelancer, which is a good step towards having your own business, you learn so much about as we say, servicing a client basically and mastering your own time and bringing control into your life. Really, I suppose what I’m saying because when you were you kind of told what to do and you stay there to your left when you are freelance so you’ve got to balance it out and it’s a good step. We’ll see entrepreneurial world. Because if you do want to start your own business, or at least open into discussion, jump over to Join Up Dots and connect with me. And I will have a one to one with you over group chats if we’ve got them going, and we’ll see how we can push you to a future that is all yours when you can make money, like Mike said, in your sleep. Until next time, look after yourself. And I’ll see you again. Bye bye. Are you ready to start your own podcast and really make it work for you bringing customers and profits into your life and your business in the easiest way possible? Or perhaps you’ve already launched and aren’t getting the results you want? If so, I’m going to teach you the information that you need that makes all the difference to your success. Now, don’t be fooled into believing what others are teaching you when it comes to what makes your podcast get those results. podcasting success is not about the podcast. It has nothing to do with a recording or equipment. It has everything to do with understanding your market. making those customers come to you time and time again. This is roar 100% live behind the scenes podcasting mastery not shown anywhere else. If that’s of interest, head over to Join Up Dots and book a time to speak with me to make sure that you’re a fit for our next course. This is podcasting mastery live at Join Up dots.com
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