Tra Williams Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Tra Williams
Tra Williams is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
As he says “I’m a former corporate executive and author with a passion for entrepreneurship, business strategy, and franchising.
I’ve been quoted or published in Forbes, Bloomberg, and Financial Markets Weekly along with more than fifty other online and print publications.
Now with most people that appear on the show they have to find a reason to ignites their passion and our guest has done that.
He can see from the News and general world activity that things are moving away from the corporate world that we have lived with for generations.
How The Dots Joined Up For Tra
He goes onto say “The widening gap between entrepreneurship and employment in America is the largest in history.
Each year, fewer and fewer people start their own business.
Right now, 93% of Americans work for the other 7%.
The US is one of the most entrepreneurial countries, yet self-employment in America ranks among the lowest in the world.
Now i dont have the stats for the rest of the world, but certainly from the UK i would suggest it is similar
So do people actually have the personal skills and strength to make a go of their own business, or has the world gone soft?
And where should they start first, blindly ploughing into it all, or simply accepting that focused action with a plan is the key
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Tra Williams
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Tra Williams such as:
Why so many people confuse the concept of being busy and being productive, which can often hold people back from personal achievement.
Tra shares the phrase “you wont remember the times of mowing the lawn or working in an office, so start climbing that mountain”. Powerful stuff.
Tra tells us the fur most powerful pillars of entrepreneurship, they seem simple but can change lives.
Belief is reverse engineered….take tiny steps and see yourself change BEFORE your customers get to see you in the way you want them to see.
How To Connect With Tra Williams
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Tra Williams Interview
When we’re young, 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. 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 [0:25]
Yes. Good morning. Good morning to you and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you very much for joining us. And, you know, I don’t take that lightly. I really don’t take that lightly. I say that, you know, quite a lot the time but I do know that. There’s a lot of other shows out there. There’s something like a million plus podcasts at the moment. And so the fact that you’ve tuned into this one, really appreciate it. Well, today’s guest joining us, he is in Florida, yes. Let’s boo boo Florida, they’ve got sunshine, they got beaches, they got a big mouse. That’s where we want to live in it and that’s where we want to be, but he’s connecting with us over the internet. And as he says I’m a former corporate executive and author with a passion for entrepreneurship, business strategy, and franchising. I’ve been quoted or published in Forbes, Bloomberg and financial markets weekly, along with more than 50 other online and print publications. Now, with most people that appear on the show, they’ve had to find a reason to ignite their passion. And it seems our guest has done that. He can see from the news and general weld activity, that things are moving away from the corporate world that we’ve lived with for generations now. People are zooming in, they’re sitting in their underpants at home, their companies are saying, you don’t have to come in ever again. Just do what you have to do. Now he goes on to say the widening gap between entrepreneurship and employment in America is the largest in history. Each year, fewer and fewer people start their own business right now. 93% of Americans work fully have a 7% amazing. Now the US is one of the most entrepreneurial countries yet self employment in America ranks among The lowest in the world. Now I don’t personally have the stats for the rest of the world, but certainly from the UK and I majan it’s quite similar to be honest. So do people actually had the personal skills and the strength to make a go of their own businesses? Or has the world kind of gone soft? And where should they start first blindly ploughing into it or simply accepting that focused action with a plan is the key. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Tra Williams. Good morning, Tra. How
Tra Williams [2:37]
Never better thank you so much for having me. I’m very very excited for this conversation.
David Ralph [2:42]
Right? So tell me Is it raining in Florida at the moment? Is it dark? Is it miserable? Is it anything but we have got in connection with where I’m sitting at the moment?
Tra Williams [2:52]
There isn’t a cloud in the sky at the moment but if it makes you feel better at four o’clock, it will be raining.
David Ralph [2:57]
Good. Yes. That makes me feel a lot better. Now one of the things that I always talk about, and it always interests me with people that set up their own business in places where they wouldn’t want to be behind a computer screen, I’d want to be out and about in Florida. And I always think to myself, should I set up a business in, say, Alaska in the winter, where you’d get so much done? Because you just sit there with the curtains drawn? How do you actually get anything done now? Or is it just life, you you kind of switch off from it because it’s normal to
Tra Williams [3:28]
you know, I find it to be a motivating factor to be honest with you, if I look out through my window and pull back a sash and I find that there’s not a cloud in the sky, I say, you know, I need to get my ducks in a row and get some stuff done today so that I can get outside. So set the goals that I want for today. And once I get those done, turn the computer off and get out in the sunshine.
David Ralph [3:46]
Ah, well I like this straight into the nuts and bolts. So you’re not somebody that says I’ve got to sit here cranking out time and time again, but hour upon hour. You’re somebody that says Look, it’s more Mind and Body, let’s do the jobs. But once we’ve hit the achieved goals, let’s go out and actually recharge ourselves and feel fresh and vibrant for the next day.
Tra Williams [4:10]
Absolutely, there’s a, there’s a big misnomer in America, where people confuse the difference between being busy and being productive. And I was guilty of this in the past. And I’ve decided to lean more toward the productivity side now. So I don’t necessarily have to be busy the entire day, because I think there’s a diminishing rate of return on your productivity, the longer you you sit and stare at a screen.
David Ralph [4:32]
He’s funny, though, I know. I used to do this all the time. And I actually made myself Ill really ill by overworking and just sitting there for hours upon hour trying to get it going. And I wonder whether it was because I was so programmed to being in an office sitting there for hour upon hour, but I couldn’t quite accept that I had the ability to choose my time and not do it. So I went from like a corporate gig to a corporate gig that I was the boss and the sales manager and The marketing good.
Tra Williams [5:02]
No doubt. Well, you used an interesting word there. The word programmed is exactly what happens. And I think this is similar in the UK as it is in the United States where we’re programmed from about six years old that we’re supposed to be inside for eight hours a day. And we’re supposed to be staring at a chalkboard when we’re younger and a computer screen when we’re older. And we begin to think that that’s normal. And it’s and it’s not quite normal for us from from a genetic and an hardwiring standpoint, what’s going on in our brains, but we’ve, we sort of succumb to that idea. And we think it’s normal even when we get to be an adult,
David Ralph [5:34]
right? It’s not how do you make a living, let’s let the listeners in so that we know exactly what you do when you’re not switching a computer off and running to the golf courses or Florida or wherever you go.
Tra Williams [5:47]
So I began my career as an entrepreneur when I was in my early 20s. I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to do it. I made an enormous amount of mistakes and I’m gonna
David Ralph [5:58]
stop you You know, why did you know you had no idea but you knew you had to do it? Why did you?
Tra Williams [6:05]
I was always incredibly dissatisfied with acting as an employee. And I always felt like I wanted to take control take action that actually shaped my future rather than helping someone else shape theirs.
David Ralph [6:18]
And had that been indicated to you because certainly I went through two decades of going to a job. not considering that I was building somebody else’s dream. It was just what I did. So where did you get that kind of mentality? Because I think that’s key to who you are now, isn’t it?
Tra Williams [6:35]
It is chemo. Certainly I grew up in a very rural environment in the southern United States, if you can’t tell by the accent, and out there where I grew up, I grew up about 15 miles from a stoplight. If that puts it into perspective of just how much in the sticks I grew up. So you know, there are no there is no low hanging fruit where I grew up. There is no opportunity there is no certainty there’s no one standing there waiting to give you a job and To say, Here’s 26 paychecks a year. Here’s predictable adequacy, take this job and spend your weekends on the couch and your evenings watching television. Right? So that didn’t exist for me. And I think it hardwired me to look for opportunity and to recognise that if it was going to be it was going to be up to me. I did make the transition from entrepreneurship into the corporate world after my my first forays into entrepreneurship. And I stayed in the corporate world for quite a long time, more than a decade or so. And then in sort of, jumped in and out here in there, and which is something that I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realise is you have this capacity to sort of transition back and forth between one and the other whenever is necessary. And I most certainly did that until August of last year when I took the final leap and sold my house and quit my job. And I have made a 100% committed effort toward entrepreneurship, being an author and being a full time speaker, which is what I do now.
David Ralph [7:59]
Right. So you You sold your house. So I imagine that you’re a single man. I
Tra Williams [8:04]
know. No, I’m not.
David Ralph [8:06]
So how did you get your wife to allow you to sell it? I can’t even get my wife to allow me to do anything, let alone selling the house.
Tra Williams [8:14]
Yeah, so I think that the important thing was that she recognised how much of my time was being chewed up by what we were doing, and how much of the days I spent maintaining this life that we had rather than living it. And, you know, jack Kerouac said one day that if, in the end, you won’t remember the time that you spent at the office or mowing the grass, climb that goddamn mountain? And and I think about that, because when I’m 60 years old, I don’t want to look back and say, you know, I remember that weekend that I spent mowing the grass and cleaning the gutters, and I’m really happy that I did that.
David Ralph [8:48]
That is key, isn’t it? That really is key. And I think it’s something that we do think even though we’re in it, you and me, I don’t think and i think that every single day. I think I’m still You know, mowing the lawn, whether business or sort of emotionally, I don’t think that I, I focus in on the mountain, like I used when I started my entrepreneurship, it was all about climbing up the mountain. And then I got to the top of the mountain that I was aiming for. And then I could see there was another mountain to go. And I was so bleeding tired, I just kind of rested a bit, you know, and I just needed that. So, do you think that we should be climbing mountains every day? Really?
Tra Williams [9:30]
You know, I’m never gonna judge anybody for the peak that they achieve that they find satisfactory, because and here’s the key here, David is everyone should stop measuring themselves against those around them and measure themselves against their own potential and their own expectations of themselves. So if you need that break, and if you need to sit sort of along that way, there’s no there’s no harm in that. I think it’s rejuvenating. I think it’s important for us but but ultimately, there are some folks who have never have satisfied in in the sort of rat race. But those folks aren’t climbing a mountain, those those folks are on the hedonic treadmill, as psychologists would call it, the, you know, the hamster wheel, right. And they think they’re climbing but what they’re really doing is, is just maintaining and trying to optimise their life relative to those around them. So, you know, the mountain isn’t one that others present to you, the mountain is one that you present for yourself.
David Ralph [10:24]
Yeah. But I would say to you that a lot of people don’t know the mountain. And they can’t visualise the mountain. You know, I have a lot of people that come through to me, and they say, David, I like to do my own thing. And no matter how hard you try, they don’t actually know themselves well enough to even start seeing the foothills of the mountain, let alone the mountain that they should be aiming for.
Tra Williams [10:48]
No doubt about it. So the really fundamental aspect of the book that I have coming out soon is that there’s an ancient battle going on inside of our brains. This battle between optimism And uncertainty. So we’re instinctively hardwired for optimism. If you’ve not read talisa rocks, book optimism bias, you definitely should. It’s incredible. And she has definitively proven that optimism was a key component to the rise of humanity really. And the one of the other balancing aspects of our rise was this need for certainty, this idea that if we had certainty where we become resistant to change, and those are the duality, the fire and ice, the Yin and Yang, inside our brains, and that was all fine and good a few thousand years ago, when there really wasn’t an incredible amount of certainty, that everyday things are kind of up to you. No one was gonna hand you a paycheck or a job or a meal and you had to get up and get it done. But today, in the vast majority of the world, Maslow’s hierarchy, the base of which has been solved, people have food readily available, they have safety relevant, readily available, they have shelter readily available in it. It has made us incredibly complacent. It It has allowed that need for certainty to really conquer and subvert our inherent optimism, and that’s why they can’t see the mountain. They’re so focused on this predictable, quote, unquote adequacy, that they don’t see the opportunity to really thrive beyond what they would consider enough or adequate.
David Ralph [12:16]
Yeah, but my bike can try they can, they can, they can see it, but they don’t know where the mountain is. They have this feeling in their body of there must be more to life in this, I can’t keep doing this, but they can’t see actually what more often than not, is right in front of their face. Right. I’m gonna throw this back at you, Mr. Williams. But when you decided to do what you’re doing an authorship and keynote speaker and everything that you’re doing, had you looked at many other things but actually wasn’t in your, your circle of excellence, instead of focusing in on the things that you can do really well. Now, I’m going to explain a little bit more than that, because a lot Lot of people that I speak to I say to them, I reckon you should be VAT because you’re doing it already do the same thing, but get paid more by somebody else by just doing it in your company could could you see what was under your nose? Or did you try to do loads of other things that maybe weren’t as suitable for you?
Tra Williams [13:18]
No doubt about it. I think all of us allow, the choices that we make and the opportunities that we recognise to be defined by the environment around us. Let me give you a good example. If you were born in Virginia, in 1740, you would likely consider yourself to be British. If you were born in Virginia, 60 years later, you would consider yourself to be American. Virginia didn’t change the trees were probably the same trees, it was the same geography. So there was this. There’s this implication of environment around you that you allow to structure your identity and what you should and shouldn’t do? Well, this is who you are. So this is the choices that you’re supposed to make. And it’s really mutually agreed upon. fiction and people spend their whole lives within the imaginary boundaries of that fiction. So to answer your question, more specifically, what I’ve tried to do is rather than look at what, what I’m good at, to look at to say, Oh, these are the things that I’m doing, these are the things that I excel at, I have a natural ability for this, I tend to look at the things that annoy me and the things that annoy other people. Because the best way to have a successful business is to solve somebody else’s problem. And if I mean, I’m getting I’m 47 years old now I’m starting to get stuck in my ways. I’m starting to find things incredibly annoying sometimes that maybe I wouldn’t have when I was younger, right? And, and, and I see this as opportunity. So I think the way to look beyond what’s right there in front of your face is to instead of looking what’s perfect and good and enjoyable and you have a natural gift for is look at what’s bad. Look what problems that exist and then figure out a way to create a business around solving that problem.
David Ralph [14:57]
Let’s hear from Jim Carrey and we’ll be back with Troy.
Jim Carrey [14:59]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [15:26]
Now leading on from that and what you said, He’s saying, You should go for what you love. And most people go, go for the passion, go for the passion and you never work again. But you’re saying, go for the things that really get up your nose, and vain, some of them for other people. How do you sort of bridge the two? How do you bridge the annoyance that is a potential business opportunity and actually doing the things that you love?
Tra Williams [15:54]
Well, you know, it’s incredibly hard to even see those opportunities when you’ve spent a lifetime building walls around yourself to make this comfortable life as an employee. So one of the first things you say in the beginning of this show every time is that everyone feels like they have this dream inside of them. And they don’t know how to bridge that gap. And the point I’m trying to make here is, we all learn how to be employees. We’re not born as an employee, we’re not born being in service to a supervisor or a boss of some sort. And we have to learn how to how to do that. So by the time we’re 25 3035 years old, it has been so ingrained in us that we’re supposed to spend eight hours a day doing this one thing that every society says you have to do to assimilate that we stopped recognising that that’s not who we are, what we were when we were born, it’s who we have become. And people sort of forget the difference between what they are and who they are. Look, so think about it like this. Let’s say we compressed humanity into 60 seconds, all of humanity in the 60 seconds. This idea You’re supposed to go to school, get a job, buy a house, work for 20 3040 years and then retire with a gold watch. And whatever fixed income you have, this is existed for four tenths of a second, on that 62nd clock. We are simply not wired to be this way, physiologically, biologically, psychologically. So it’s no wonder that we all feel this resistance in this this instinctive drive. I talk about the four primary instincts of entrepreneurship in my book, and people don’t realise that this urge that they’re having is actually what Mother Nature hardwired them for. And they’ve they’ve learned how to suppress that urge and
David Ralph [17:40]
tennis wonderful art, right? You’ve led us into your books, I tell us,
Tra Williams [17:44]
all right, so they’re gonna sound incredibly simple when I tell you, but when you when you think about how they work in tandem, you’ll realise the power. So the first one is belief. And when people talk about belief, they think of faith. They think of religion. They think of the Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. But belief is really so much more powerful than that. Because everything that you do is predicated on belief, you stop at a red light because you believe if you don’t stop, you’ll be in a car accident. You go to work every day because you believe you’re gonna get a paycheck next Friday, you go to your favourite restaurant because you believe you’re gonna get a good meal there. Everything no matter how small is predicated on belief. So, belief is made up of three components. optimism is the first which is why we talked about optimism earlier, self efficacy, this sort of idea that you have the ability in the control to make that vision a reality is the second and then action is the third and here’s where people fall short on belief is they have this vision of the future. I know I can make this happen, you know, I feel it inside of me. And then they think I you know, I think I have the skills for this too. I’m naturally talented, I’m a good leader, etc, etc. But unless you take action, that optimism and that self efficacy is completely irrelevant, so they never actually take steps. To create the momentum for belief. So the second aspect is accountability, which is what a lot of people struggle with in today’s world. And I don’t mind saying that I think the world is less and less accountable for their actions and their thoughts. And they tend to assign and attribute their current conditions to those around them rather than the choices that they’ve made. The third one is focus, which I don’t think I need to tell you that the goldfish like attention span that we all have now with a second snippets of videos scrolling across screens, the average American looks at their phone, three and a half hours a day, watches television, three and a half hours a day, and cleans or maintains their home for about 100 minutes a day, that’s eight hours a day, that that our attention is on something other than building our legacy or on maintaining the life not living it. So the final instinct is creativity. And you think, oh, everyone loves creativity. We love it. creative ideas are so important to society. And that’s true, and that’s true, and we help innovation and creativity as a real foundation of the rise of humanity. But simultaneously we are incredibly resistant to innovative ideas and the more certain our comfort becomes. The more that Maslow’s base of hierarchy there with safety and predictability and food and shelter become certain, the more resistant we are to creativity. So the the sort of hypocrisy here is why we Herald creativity is the foundation of humanity’s rise. We are incredibly resistant to innovative ideas and change we fear leading to certainty that we’re in. And when you take those for belief, accountability, focus and creativity and you put them in a cycle, you’ll see that one begets the next your creativity fuels your belief, your belief allows you to feel more accountable to have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. That level of accountability creates an intense level of focus in your life, but because the most successful people are the ones who say no the most That’s a warren buffett quote, by the way, and then that focus gives you the opportunity to come up with innovative solutions to these problems. So it there’s a circle of cycle of entrepreneurship here that I’m talking about in the book. And it’s really founded on simple ideas that we’ve suppressed because being an employee doesn’t necessarily require any of those. It just requires you to do the job that you’re told to do and cash a check. You
David Ralph [21:24]
know, the weird thing Trey and I always come back to is what you started off with that personal belief, because I think there are certain lunatics like Elan Musk, for example, that can do things but others can’t even comprehend. And he will create things I saw this pig the other day walking around with a chip in his brain. And I thought Where’s even getting an idea from it? But the majority of people out there who are going to start their own business or create their own dream life or whatever, they’re pretty much Gonna do something that is similar to what’s already been done. And so what where’s the where’s the lack of belief? You know, if you want to become a podcaster you only have to look in my direction. I think when he’s done it when it can’t be that hard, you know, do it if you want to be a motivational speaker, there’s enough of them out there. If you want to be an offer. Why do you think people lack belief when it’s already proven? It’s not the three minute mile, everyone’s already run it, you just have to do the same.
Tra Williams [22:27]
You know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with starting a business within an industry that has existed for a long time. I’m gonna give you a good example here. The trades and skilled labour in the United States is on the decline. There’s a real lack of electricians, carpenters, plumbers, you know, people who can work with their hands and these younger generations don’t want to choose that work. So these folks are making, I don’t mind saying an enormous amount of money in the United States right now because they are in incredible amount of demand. So I don’t think there’s hope And looking at someone, let’s say they have a heating and air conditioning company. And they’re wildly successful at it. And they’re installing air conditioners, which are incredibly important in Florida and the maintenance of which is incredibly important in Florida. So just because you want to go and start a business that’s within a segment that already exists, doesn’t mean that you’re not an entrepreneur. And it’s not doesn’t mean you’re not innovative, creative, but what you have to do is you have to look at those guys that are successful and say, What are they doing really badly. They might be doing X, Y, and Z extremely well. And as a result, they’ve made lots and lots of money, but AMD they really kind of falling short on and when you can serve and you can overcome those finding little tiny little problems where someone else your competition is doing something badly, then you got an opportunity to capture market share.
David Ralph [23:47]
Oh, it’s blue oceans, red oceans, isn’t it, you you you look at something and once it’s too saturated, just pivot it slightly, and that the world is full of blockbusters that we’re doing something bad Netflix destroying them, you know, everything has its moment. And that’s what I just can’t get, you know, I wouldn’t start a business that wasn’t already out there and proven. I like to look at what other people are doing and delve into their track record and do my market research. I wouldn’t like to just be doing it as a complete new idea.
Tra Williams [24:22]
No doubt about it. But when you even look at Elon Musk, everyone thinks he’s doing things that no one has ever done. But the rockets that he’s using at SpaceX are predicated on technology that was that was created during the 60s when USA was trying to go to the moon.
David Ralph [24:35]
He’s got to talk to me. He’s got talking pig or something.
Tra Williams [24:40]
Yeah, yeah. But But implanting electrodes or even using organic matter as a computer chip is something that has been around for a long, long time. The difference is what I said earlier about belief is he has that optimism. He has that self efficacy just like all of us, but rather than just believe in it, he takes action and says, you know, we’re doing this for a long time. We know we have this technique. algae, why don’t we frickin use it?
David Ralph [25:02]
What is weird about Elan Musk is the fact that even when people slag him off, as we say here in the United Kingdom or criticise him, I suppose is a better way of saying it. He doesn’t backtrack. It’s very, very backtracks. And that is total belief, isn’t it? You know, you look at your president. He’s a classic example of you can say anything you want to him, it just makes no difference at all. When does belief become almost insanity? That’s that’s a good question, isn’t it?
Tra Williams [25:35]
I think that the difference between belief and insanity is when it works. There’s been a lot of folks out there who are accused of being insane. I mean, I think the oldest one I can think of is Noah. Right? Yeah. But but but the point is that people only only undermine and slack off these ideas, as you say until it works. And then they go, Oh, this was a brilliant idea. Look at how smart This guy is. And that just proves why so many of us are stuck. We’re stuck because we fail to embrace these ideas. And we fail to be open minded about these ideas, right up until the point they work.
David Ralph [26:13]
Let’s take you back in time, Trey, let’s take you back to the time that you decided that you get to sell your house. So you sell your house, and you quit your job. And then on the Monday morning, when you normally are commuting into the office, you’re sitting on the sofa with your underpants on thinking, What do I do next? So So how did you kick it off? Because I heard a story the other day about this guy who was a football player, a soccer player over here, and he got given the manager’s job. And he said, I had no training at all. So I went into the manager’s office on the Monday, I sat there for an hour, I didn’t know what to do. So I phoned my mom. And that’s, that’s all he could think of to do. And I think that is a great sort of, benchmark of how most If I saw in entrepreneurship, when we go, I’m gonna do this. And then you sit there and you think I give me a guide, give me a manual, give me something to follow. And I can do it. But I’ve got to make it out for myself. So how did you do it?
Tra Williams [27:12]
So I had been in the franchise industry for a couple of decades and been surrounded by entrepreneurs. And that’s a very insular world and us everyone in the franchise industry knows each other. It’s a big, small town, so to speak. As a result, I had a very distorted perception of entrepreneurship. And I just thought everybody thought like me, I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, I was surrounded by people who saw the the glass is half full. And I had no idea that there was such a massive group of people who really didn’t, didn’t have that same perspective and had yet to bridge that gap. So when I wanted to make this transition, I begin sort of doing the research of why some people think that way and why some people don’t and that’s where I stumbled on to this statistic that so many people have a hard time believing that everything One says, oh, the United States is incredibly entrepreneurial. They have this amazing entrepreneurial spirit. And that’s true, David, it is true today, the United States ranks third in the world in an entrepreneurial spirit perspective. And the way they measure that is they say, what percentage of the population would prefer to be self employed. The United States, the United States ranks third behind Portugal and Poland, if you’re wondering who number one and number two are now, despite the fact that we are still third in the world for spirit. That equates about 100 million people but 70% we are dead last among major industrialised countries, six and a half percent of the United States is self employed. This number has been falling since the mid 1940s. It was about 20% or so and it began a steady decline through the 40s and 50s and 60s, a really precipitous decline in the past 2530 years, about 20 years ago, it was still around 12 and a half percent now. It’s about About six and a half percent and what that means David is in the mid 2014 99% of Americans will work for the other 1% think about that. The third most entrepreneurial, spirited country in the world 99% of its citizens will work for the other 1% and this was the moment where I realised there was a massive blue ocean. There was a massive group of people out there who were thinking it but not doing it. There’s 100 million Americans who want this and just need a Pied Piper, so to speak, to help them navigate this a theory of world between traditional employment and self employment. And that recognition of the math that really backed up my passion for entrepreneurship to begin with, was the moment where I said, aha, here it is. Here’s the math that proves not only am I doing, doing what I say everyone else should do, but I have the opportunity to help them do it as well. Well, okay, you can always The
David Ralph [30:00]
statue like across every country to me, but still, you’ve quit your job. You’re sitting there on your sofa in your underpants you’re feeling scared about how do you vane? take that first step, you know, and I’ve been through this. So I know the answer on this. But for people out there, I was thinking of doing it. It’s not just throwing a website up. It’s not just about doing Facebook ads, it’s almost about proving yourself before you’ve had a chance to prove yourself. How did you do? It is?
Tra Williams [30:32]
It is so in the book, we talked about the very last chapter, we talked about how to begin, because that’s really the hardest part. Momentum matters so much and just starting is one of the most difficult parts to your point. So belief is the first primary and sleek of entrepreneurship, but you can’t just wake up one morning and say, David, I’ve decided today that I believe I can do this and I’m going to begin if people need evidence, they need something tangible. They want to feel more Safe in this journey that they’re about to take. And the way to make that happen is belief is reverse engineered. You have to take action, even if you currently do not believe and even if it’s small measured steps that are commensurate with your risk aversion. But when you take action consistently over time, in small ways, what happens is you begin to see yourself as a different person, you begin to look at yourself to say, I am the kind of person who can make this happen. I’ve been doing this for three months now. And when I started, I really didn’t believe but now I’m realising who I am at my core, and I’m starting to look at myself differently. And the perspective you have of yourself and what you’re capable of, is the engine that really drives entrepreneurship. So the way to start the way to get off that couch the way to not call your mom instead, you actually do something that’s going to change your future is to take action regardless of whether you believe or not and regardless of how much faith you have in the outcome, But those efforts,
David Ralph [32:01]
I was a podcaster in my head long before I was a podcaster. And you know, I remember now when I listen back to my very first show, and I remember it’s about the only show, I think it is the only show that I recorded three times before I put it out, because I couldn’t get my mouth to operate. And I thought this is strange. I spent years standing up in front of people doing classroom based exercises, and I never had an issue, turn the microphone on. And it was Lou, I mean, mouth just went funny. But I believed I could do it. And so I just kept on doing it. And by the time you get to 100 episodes, you feel like it’s fair, and then 200 and 400. And then you look back and then you think I’m only getting going now. And then you start this, this is the key thing to this, you start getting that obsession, and it’s not something that you’re doing is something that you actually think I want to be good at is I want to be so good at that. And that is when that personal belief meets obsession. And I think people Start looking in your direction, when they can see that actually you’re, you’re there every day, you’re consistent, you’re delivering, you’re reliable. And that is where people once again, they stopped, don’t they before that, that moment of, I really love this, that this speaks to me, and you’re in those weeds just sort of prowling through. That is when people go, Oh, it’s the wrong path or change direction. But you just keep going. Keep going.
Tra Williams [33:27]
Yeah, so you probably even changed the way you spoke about yourself. I bet when you first began, you said, I have this podcast that I’m working on, and I’m hosting people, etc, etc. But I bet now, you don’t have a podcast. You are a podcaster. Yes, right. Yes. So this is who you are.
David Ralph [33:45]
But when I started, I had to explain to people what a podcast was, you know, 10 years ago, people didn’t have a clue they you know, and now, you don’t have to say anything is like the word Google people just know what podcast is.
Tra Williams [34:00]
No doubt, no doubt, I’m sure in the future there’ll be no more private conversations, everything will be held via podcast and then transmitted to the world.
David Ralph [34:07]
He said any reason not to turn on a microphone if he’s not providing content to someone.
Tra Williams [34:14]
David Ralph [34:17]
with yourself in first client, let’s get back to that. I’m like a dog with a bone. You’ve got to get a first client, you got to get a first crack in the door. How did you do it?
Tra Williams [34:29]
So I’ve been a consultant off and on even when I was a W two employee for many years, and to be honest with you, I enjoyed being an advisor, nine enjoyed coming into a new environment and assessing their needs and figuring out how I could help but what I didn’t enjoy was the selling. I didn’t enjoy saying, hey, you’re the guy who has a problem and I’m the guy who has a solution. Let’s talk about you hiring me and I really didn’t like that aspect, but I love the relational aspect of it. So what I did was I built relations kinships having no idea whether anyone of those people that I was building relationship with would even need me, or much less hire me. But those relationships created something that was very pivotal as an entrepreneur and really made the difference for me. And that was trust. So, the the founder of IBM once said that the funny thing about trust is it takes a lifetime to build and can be destroyed in an instant. And, and that’s a really profound thing to think about how quickly you can lose someone’s trust for eternity. And what I worked on was building trust, offering value to people at no cost at all thinking, plus positioning myself really as a resource for them, rather than trying to sell them something out of the gate. So when some of them needed me, some of them didn’t. But guess who they called when the ones who didn’t need me had a problem? No, spot. Grey. Exactly, exactly. Right. So you’re gonna call the person that you’d Trust has the expertise to fix that problem. So, in the end, it doesn’t matter what your services it doesn’t matter what your product is, it doesn’t matter what your business sells, it could be widgets, this is really inconsequential. You do business with people. And people like to do business with those that they trust. So if you haven’t started beginning relationships with people, then then you’re really missing one of the first steps there. Once you’re trying to monetize your, your product or your skill. This happens on LinkedIn quite a bit. If you’re on LinkedIn, you probably get what I get, you get these people sending you these random messages that say, let me tell you how amazing my product is. Let me tell you the ways that we are going to change the world and they don’t know me and oftentimes, they’ve obviously not even read my profile because they’re trying to sell me something that I don’t need. And and those are the folks who are really failing at this because they’re throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. But what I’m talking about is building a wall. I’m talking about getting together with that person who may be your client To say, let’s construct something together. And then over time, they looked at the value that you’ve created. And they want you involved because you’ve helped them so much over time.
David Ralph [37:10]
I’ll read one I’ve just received it, actually, because I just clicked on LinkedIn, as you said that, and it said, This came through two minutes ago. Hey, David saw you were fellow podcaster. I thought I’d Connect. We’re number one best selling authors and have a podcast called, and I leave it blank in case they’re listening. And then a second later, they said, and by the way, if your podcast is made up of a lot of moms and parents, I’m happy to come on as a guest. It’s not gonna work. It’s not gonna work. It’s just clunky, isn’t it? There’s no value in that. So it just puts me off.
Tra Williams [37:44]
Absolutely. Well, you’ve had two and a half thousand people on your podcast, I’m not so sure that you’re in dire straits, searching for people to have the opportunity to come in here. Have a conversation with you and your listeners. So you know what, let me let me let me put this on you for a moment. I was someone who has has had so much success in podcasting world, tell me what you would like for them to have said to you rather than what they just said.
David Ralph [38:06]
I would have basically said, Hey, David, listen to a couple of your episodes, really enjoyed it, or even I didn’t enjoy it, you know, but just be honest, as long as they tell you something that I know was in an episode, then they’ve got to me, it’s when it’s the cut and paste effect of you know, they’ve sent it out to 1000 of them. And they’ve just put in, I love the bit when you spoke to your guest about the dot say joined up. You can pretty much guess that from the name of the show, I think you have really put much effort in.
Tra Williams [38:41]
No, no doubt about it. And it’s that trust and building that relationship. That’s going to create those lifetime value of your customers. And the people like the one who just sent you that message. I use this term tiny bit. They see clients as transactional. They see this as I think I might be able to Turn this particular client into an X transaction worth X amount of dollars. And they’re forgetting the lifetime value of doing business with someone you know, Microsoft is Microsoft today, because they created lifetime value in their product, where people pay them X number of dollars every single year, so they can subscribe to the latest version of Microsoft Office. And Apple created lifetime value in their product where once you own their product, all of the new versions are free. They do the updates for the software for free. They don’t ask you to pay for the next version of this. So what does that old saying you can share a sheet many times scan them only once. And so many of these people were thinking about skinning you and not sharing.
David Ralph [39:42]
Now, so what we’re saying here for the people that are looking at starting their own thing, really they shouldn’t be thinking about the thing they should be thinking about the value that they can provide to somebody. And more often than not, it’s something quite easy, but they they do it naturally. They don’t Even after Think about it, and by providing that value, the business idea will start to sort of come to them instead of them trying to force it.
Tra Williams [40:10]
No doubt some of the most ubiquitous things in this world were once considered to be luxuries. Think about it your dishwasher, your home, the blender that you have the your curling iron for the ladies who use a curling iron or a hairdryer when you’re getting dressed in the morning. These things are just ubiquitous, they’re everywhere. But there was a time when this was considered to be a luxury and the value that Korea created was such that it became pervasive it became everywhere in the world because they were able to drive down the cost over time. I guarantee you that owning a hairdryer was a luxury in probably what the 20s or 30s and they were not very cheap. But over time as they built that business and optimise their costs, they made it available to the masses because it was truly a problem everyone had that in the beginning was only a few could afford the problem. that we’re facing now and we have all of these luxuries in our life. I don’t wash dishes, I put them in the dishwasher. Right? I, there’s a variety of things that I have in the most other people have. But what am I doing with that time that it has saved me. And this is a salient point in the world of optimization in the world of instant gratification that we live in right now. Time cannot be saved. I want to save this again. Everyone thinks, Oh, this saves me so much time, does it because time is either redirected or it is wasted. They’re not rollover minutes like like sprint or Cingular wireless in the 90s and 2000s. When cell phones came out where Oh, I didn’t use my minutes this month. I’ll use them next month. That’s not how time works. So you either redirect it, or you lose it forever. And in this world of optimation optimization that we live in right now, folks think they’re saving time, when really they’re creating the same output by inputting less effort and that’s why we stuck.
David Ralph [42:01]
Now with your business tree, how long has it actually been going? Or how when when did you actually put your name on it and stick a.com behind it.
Tra Williams [42:11]
Um, so I put a.com behind it years ago because I always knew that there was going to be a time in my future when I wanted to work for myself. And, and I was a consultant here there, like I said before without actually making a concerted effort for it just by virtue of the expertise I had in my industry. So I had that.com for a while, the real challenge David was distilling my message. But the challenge was understanding who I was speaking to understanding what my message was and why I was telling it. And that was something that really crystallised over the past five years with the book that I have an understanding of those three aspects and distilling it down to be able to say very succinctly in 10 seconds or less, right, and that was the hard part. So the.com part of it to your point, and it’s not just Throwing up a website, you can’t just throw up a website and expect the field of dreams to happen where you build it in the come. But once you’ve distilled your message, you know who it’s for, then you’ll see that moment, that sort of aha moment where people begin to recognise the value that you’re providing.
David Ralph [43:15]
Yeah, that that is a key thing. You know, if you go over to your website and look at it, you’re getting what, 31 visitors organic a month. But it doesn’t matter at all, if they’re the right people that understand the right messaging. And I think that’s one of the things that people do struggle with. And I think I struggled with it in the early days, because my business was built around a podcast and it could go in any different direction. What was the distinct messaging, that everything hung on that people understood? And once you get there, and this is why I emphasise, I get about two and a half thousand organic monthly traffic to Join Up Dots each month. How many of those are going to be clients? If your messaging isn’t right then Very few people out there don’t have to think that they’ve got to create a tonne of content. But they do have to create the right content for the right people with the right messaging, which is clear and precise. Yeah,
Tra Williams [44:13]
absolutely. It’s like the book 1000 true fans, if you’ve not read it, you should definitely read that is you don’t need millions of followers, you need roughly 1000 people who love what you’re saying and want to tell their friends about it.
David Ralph [44:26]
So who’s going to tell their friends about you tray, who are the ones that waive the trade flag, and marched down the stairs?
Tra Williams [44:35]
So there’s a couple of different groups of people, the first group of the group of people who are really horrified by what’s happening to American entrepreneurship. They hear the statistics, they’re blown away by it, they’re embarrassed, quite frankly, as an American that that entrepreneurship is declining in such a precipitous pace, and they want to be part of this revolution that I’m trying to incite to before it’s too late and 99% of us work for the other 1% so there’s a A bit of a bit of patriotism there to say let’s recapture the spirit that the nation was built on. The other group or the group of people who felt like I felt when I was younger, who, who always was raised in an environment of taking control of their future and really being accountable for your actions and understanding that the choices that you made is what got you where you are. And those are the people who have been dissatisfied in their job, they may even have a good paying job, they may have a great education and someone that pays them $100,000 a year. In fact, especially if they have a great education and someone pays them 100 grand a year. They feel like they have this predictable adequacy, and they feel that they’re capable of so much more. And those are the people who say yeah, this is fantastic. I’m glad I did it, and I’m thankful for my blessings. But I am capable of more than this. And I just want a pathway to guide me from this this world that I’ve built around myself with a 30 year mortgage and a five year loan on your car and your 529 for your college savings. And in everything that is always planning for tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I need someone to help me guide through taking action today.
David Ralph [46:07]
Let’s hear from Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [46:08]
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 trust 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 [46:44]
So if it does make all the difference of joining up the dots connecting the dots and looking back, can we use that same methodology and make them into stepping stones forward or is that not possible?
Tra Williams [46:57]
No. Well, we use that same method methodology. To become an employee, we took the dots of kindergarten and elementary school and middle school and high school and college and graduate school. And then applications and resumes. All of those are dots. So we joined the dots for employment. But that was just a pathway that we were told we had to follow. All Steve is talking about there is doing the exact same thing, just via a different pathway. Now, now once you find yourself in that position, what’s necessary is to deconstruct those dots that you created because you created this world around you, you created the life of being an employee. And that didn’t happen overnight, and you’re not going to deconstruct it overnight. And that’s what’s important to remember is you can’t draw a line in the sand and suddenly go from thinking and living like an employee to thinking and living like an entrepreneur, you’ve got to deconstruct some of that. Look, I did it by selling the car and selling the house and quitting my job and make a good concerted effort to build relationships and those were my dots and your dots. My look different than that. But the point is, is that we’re always connecting dots. We’re just doing it down a different pathway.
David Ralph [48:06]
Now moving forward, then what is your plan for the rest of the year and 2020 has been a bit of a weird one for all of us. So what is your plan for the rest of it?
Tra Williams [48:17]
Well, the book is going to come out later this year, first of next year, depending on how the virus or how’s bookstores to react and hopefully, that’s going to allow people to come in and read that introduction, read that preface and be able to say, you know, I love what saying here and I want to be part of this entrepreneurial revolution. I mean book quite often given that these meetings can happen with conferences. But the most important thing for me right now, not necessarily is to create a national audience or to create this revolution, as I’ve been calling it. The most important thing for me right now is to be impactful at the individual level. We didn’t get to six and a half percent of self employment in the United States. By going to the United States and suppressing the entire country, what happened was each individual made these choices. And in order to reverse that, we’ve got to do it the same way. We’ve got to be impactful at the individual level. So my goal really is to communicate to your listeners and to those who might be stuck in traffic this morning and listen to this podcast and they hate this one stoplight because they get stuck at it every single day, and empower them to begin deconstructing those dots that they have connected to place themselves in this horrific traffic jam. I love the fact
David Ralph [49:33]
that you grew up 15 miles from the nearest stoplight and they seem to Babia they seem to bother you now.
Tra Williams [49:40]
No doubt about it. It’s very grating, I grew up with an enormous amount of freedom and autonomy and now they’re in the sticks as we call it in the south. And I’m very proud of that. I think it’s part of maybe who I am, but it certainly made me less tolerant of the world that isn’t operating on that pace.
David Ralph [49:57]
Well, let’s take you to the last Part of the show now and this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with the young Trey. And if you could go into a room and see him there, what age would you like to speak to him? What advice would you give him? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the music and when it fades up, we’re going to talk is a sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [50:26]
With the speed of the show.
Tra Williams [50:43]
Comfort is a cage as you’re building these walls around yourself, these this safety this nice, cosy bed that you sleep in every night, it makes you more and more complacent. Being an entrepreneur means choosing things not because they’re They’re easy, but because they’re hard, it’s an inner calling, to, to innovate, to explore, to, to go where there is no path and leave a trail.
David Ralph [51:11]
What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Tra Williams [51:16]
They can go to Tra Williams.com you can connect with me via social media there. I’m not an enormous social media guy. I’m an interactive working with people kind of guy. So shoot me a note, ask me a question. While you’re there, you can download an excerpt from the book called boss brain and learn how to tap into the instincts that you have, that you are hardwired with and learn how to really unlock them so that you can live the American dream, right stuff great
David Ralph [51:44]
stuff. Well, we will have all the links on the show notes to make it as easy as possible to find you through Join Up Dots. But Tra, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you got more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our power is the best way to build our futures. Tra Williams, thank you so much.
Tra Williams [52:05]
Thank you, David, it’s been a pleasure and Good day to all your listeners.
David Ralph [52:10]
Tra Williams. If you want to start doing something, look around and try to find things where you can help other people. And if you can scour that, then it’s a good indication. Now, he was talking about finding things that are an annoyance to him and looking at a business in that regard. You don’t have to do it yourself. You could be the ideas, man, you could be looking at oil lady or lady. You could be going around looking at these things, and then finding ways of actually scaling them. Once you get your profit coming in, you can then invest that back into the business and then escape really quickly. I tried to do that. More often than not, I don’t rarely stay in a business very long, because there’s other businesses to be had an income stream. So don’t think about you’ve got to do it. For the rest of your life, just think to yourself, how can I start something to start bringing in income, and then pay for somebody to do what I’m doing. And then maybe help them scale it or whatever. But then take part of the profits, you may not be taking 100% of the profits, but you’re not in the business, you can sort of move on to something else. Money is flying around, opportunities of flying around. It just takes fresh eyes, a fresh mind, and a personal belief to make it happen. Until next time, my young padawans thank you so much for everyone who is coming over to Join Up Dots booking time to speak with me, whenever I’m podcasting or wherever on business ideas or just, you know, just a chat, really a few people. It’s an absolute delight to connect with you. Until next time, I’ll see you again. Bye bye. Do you ever wonder why people are podcasting nowadays so many people are starting so many businesses are starting even Virgin and Barclays Bank and some of these are global businesses. on the bandwagon and podcasting, and why are they doing that? Because I know there’s money behind it. People listen to podcasts, people buy from podcasts. And by having your own podcast, you literally do sprinkle Rocket Power all over your business. So if you’ve got a business, and you’re not podcasting, why, if you haven’t got a business and you want to start why men, podcasting is probably one of the best ways to actually get that business rocking and rolling. My name is David Ralph, and I’m the host of Join Up Dots. And I’m going to be showing you behind the scenes of how we have turned Join Up Dots into a multiple six figure business and beyond, simply with three very easy steps that all of you can follow to, I’m going to be hosting it I’m going to be back live, or you’re going to do is jump over to podcasters mastery.com and book your ticket and I’ll be waiting there probably my best clothes might even shave as well make a bit of effort optimal. And we’ll be there to show you those three easy steps. Really if you haven’t got a podcast on your business, then you’re missing a trick Over to podcasters mastery.com. And you will see my sexy face. Look forward to seeing you Cheers. Bye bye.
Unknown Speaker [55:07]
That’s the end of China.
Unknown Speaker [55:11]
You’ve heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. yank up, jerk. God, we’ll be back again real soon. Join Up Dots Join Up, Dots Join Up Dots
Unknown Speaker [55:36]
Join Up Dots.