Dale Partridge is most widely known as the Founder of Sevenly.org and by the one million monthly readers of his blog, The Daily Positive. His focus is now on his next project, StartupCamp.com and his new book, People Over Profit.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
- Dale was fired from his own company. Could anything hurt more?
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Dale KNEW that people had to come first, and he proved it with his first 8-figure revenue company.
What has you FIRED up?
- Dale’s book: People Over Profit! Click here
Small Business Resource
- Dribbble: Show and tell for designers
Best Business Book
- People Over Profit by Dale Partridge
- The Brand Gap Marty Neumeier
- The Daily Positive
- Start Up Camp: Are You An Aspiring. Entrepreneur, Blogger or Dreamer? Join the thousands chasing their dream with an educational membership to StartupCamp.
- @dalepartridge for everything :-)
Dale: Affirmative, my friend.
John: Yes. Dale is most widely known as the founder of Sevenly.org, and by the 1 million monthly readers of his blog, The Daily Positive. His focus is now on his next project, Start Up Camp.com. and his new book, People Over Profit. Dale, say what’s up to Fire Nation, and what’s going on in your world right now?
Dale: Hey, guys. How’s it going? Man, just really excited to be here. Entrepreneur on Fire is one of those inspirations I’ve followed for a long time as well as entrepreneurship is just in my blood. It’s something that I love to do. I never knew that I was supposed to be an entrepreneur until I was about 19 or 20 and walked that journey now for seven companies producing over about $25 million in revenue. I learned the ropes, and I feel like I’m finally ready to start teaching. It’s really exciting.
John: Wow. Well, we have a lot of stuff to talk about because you have some really, really cool things going on. I mean, Start Up Camp, mind blown. People Over Profit, really exciting. But first, Dale, I want to get inside your mind, my friend, because you’ve done a lot of cool things in a lot of cool areas. So let’s unbox that a little bit with what I call the one minute mindset. So I’m going to ask you five questions, five insights into your mind, and answer in about 60 seconds. No. 1 being, ideally, what do the first 80 minutes of your day look like?
Dale: Yeah, so I’m a father and a husband. So I wake up in the morning, depending on what the baby slept, anywhere between 6:00 and 8:00. I used to be able to be so regimented where I would wake up at the same time. But this has shifted as I’ve tried to catch up on sleep depending if I was up two times or three times with the baby. And I’m up in the morning. I usually have what I call the golden hour, and I spend that time with my wife and family. And we get under the sheets, and we hang out kind of like that old parachute thing you do with children.
I would do that with our daughter. And it’s a white blanket, so the light comes through. And we can have that time in the morning. And then we eat breakfast together, have some time just to discuss the day. And then I dive in at about typically around 9:00, dive in, hit that email really hard. And I try not to check my email again until about 5:00 p.m. I then work off of 3 x 5 cards. So this is something that I’ve done. It just works for me is that I have a stack of 3 x 5 cards that I pull out every night before I go to bed, and I hammer out the top five things I need to finish that next day. And I actually prioritize them in order.
So 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in importance. And then typically, the one that is No. 1 is the one that I hate most. And –
John: Swallow that frog.
Dale: Exactly. So I hit that one – get that thing done. I make sure that I take breaks every hour for about 15 minutes. And by the time the day is over, I try to really dive back into family. Usually, go get a beer and relax with some friends and hang out with my wife. So that’s just really the regimented schedule that’s worked for me. I do also usually work six days a week. I take one day off. My sixth day, on Saturday, I actually only work about four hours though. So because during the day, I’m really only working about six hour days, maybe seven hour days, so I try to get that extra day in there depending on the intensity of the season.
John: I’m a huge fan, we can all take a lot away from that swallowing the frog first because just having that thing that we don’t want to do and continuing to kind of push it to the back of the pile, it’s still there. It’s still taking up our mental bandwidth being like I know we have to do this. But just getting it done first thing, it’s over. You already have this massive sense of accomplishment, and you can attack the rest of your day with gusto because the worst thing is already behind you. And Dale, I’d love to know your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur.
Dale: I’ve always lived with anxiety and over stress that affects me in a major way. So insomnia is another one. So sleep has always been kind of this massive weakness for me. And what it is is that I carry the burdens of the world on my shoulders. I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop worrying. And having – if any of you guys are fathers out there or mothers, I’m the guy that, when your child coughs, you think he’s choking. For me, worry has been something that has consumed me as an entrepreneur, and it’s been something that I’ve battled for a long time.
I actually went into a 12 month course that I paid $1,000.00 a month for with Dr. John Townsend, which is an executive psychotherapist that spent a lot of time really debunking and understanding why I think the way I think and how I think the way that I do. We did a lot of healing, a lot of humiliating, embarrassing, awkward, diving into the past therapy that really helped me grow through some of these worries that I had. And it really told me a lot about who I am? Now, I have to set up boundaries and, ultimately, make sure that my mind doesn’t wander in certain areas where I worry too much.
So I constantly am monitoring my thoughts in order to keep them healthy because I think that inner voice that we speak to ourselves really dictates what we create in our lives. And I make sure that I’m in control of that because this is my weakness as an entrepreneur. This is my weakness as a man. And I think that I’ve made a lot of progress on it. But I think it’s something I’m going to battle for my entire life.
John: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, you’re in the majority. It’s just on what level do we, as human beings, have that anxiety? And then also, how do we deal with it? And I know there are a lot of Fire Nation listeners right now that are saying what’s the link to that course because I want to do that in the next 12 months. And so we’ll make sure to get that over. And Dale, what’s your biggest strength?
Dale: This is going to sound weird, but I feel like I have a slight, prophetic understanding of what’s happening. Meaning not that I’m some prophet of God, but I’m saying that I see trends before people usually see them. I spot the next thing and where the market is moving and before the market sees them. And so I’ve been able to position myself as an entrepreneur and as a business in places where people are saying I don’t know about that. I don’t know if that’s really going that way. And I find myself ahead of the game multiple times. So at first, I saw this, and I thought it was luck.
And then I did it again with my company, Sevenly, that was in the beginning kind of the social good trend in that it worked correctly. And now, with Start Up Camp, I’m seeing this again because, as we see the crumble of the college institutional traditional education fall down, we’re not seeing a lot of solutions for people to educate themselves as entrepreneurs. So I found myself, again, perfectly positioned in this spot. So I would say I don’t know what it is, but it’s the ability to see the future a little bit sooner than most people.
John: All of us, I should say, that are surfers have seen those other surfers who just seem to know where that wave is going to form. And I was just like how did you know it was going to form over there and break right there? It’s just like they can see it. And that’s what we as entrepreneurs need to really be working towards is spotting those trends. And it’s something that you can definitely have more natural ability for, but it’s also something you can work towards by listening to the right content like this podcast and reading the right stuff like The Daily Positive and doing all the right things.
That’s kind of framing your mind to catch those trends and to see those waves before they form. So great stuff, Dale. Love that. And what’s a habit that you wish you had?
Dale: A habit I wish I had is the ability to say no when it comes time to make tough decisions. And this is even in the smallest decisions. So I don’t know how many of you guys out there who have been able to sit at 11:00 at night, and you continue to work, and you can’t say not to it. And you can’t stop doing it, and also, the amount of opportunities. And it’s the ability to have the habit to understand the power in saying no. And I’ll tell you, there’s almost everything – John, I think that you might have said this. But almost everything is not important. And so there are very few things that are very important.
So the ability to say no for me, I have to choose between incredible and great. Not oh, make sure that you choose great instead of mediocre. It’s like there are opportunities that are great opportunities, but you actually have to choose the incredible ones. And it’s by saying no to great. And it’s this habit that’s been very difficult for me to form.
John: So Dale, you have a lot of things, rightfully so, that you’re excited about. But what’s the one thing that has you most fired up right now?
Dale: I think that it’s this book, People Over Profit, that’s coming out. When I was at Sevenly, I learned that how you make employees feel about themselves says a lot about your leadership. And it’s looking at your companies and seeing that they’re people, not parts. And I really spent a lot of time manufacturing and developing this book to help people redefine capitalism. To help flip capitalism upside down and create companies. It’s my belief that people and leaders and companies that value people over profit are actually more profitable. So the marketplace, left to itself, doesn’t see people.
It sees pieces of a puzzle. It sees potential purchasers. It sees zeroes and dollar signs, credit card swipes, bottom lines. And as leaders, every dollar our company makes is a reason not to change. We get this because tradition is powerful. This pattern that we have is powerful. Consistency is powerful, but these patterns, when they’re stagnant or deceptive or only focused on profit, they can actually become prisons and, ultimately, executioners of our business. So this book is really about helping people restructure how they think about business and make them more profitable at the same time loving people.
John: I mean, it’s a win/win/win trifecta, Fire Nation. And you’re hearing what Dale is kicking out right now. And all I can say is I’ve seen it first hand with my business. And I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of this for sure. Now, Dale, I want you to take us to a moment in your entrepreneurial journey that you would consider the worst entrepreneurial moment. And really, make us feel like we’re there with you. Take it away.
Dale: So I was 22 years old. And I had just had my girlfriend break up with me because she cheated on me in Germany. So I’m already kicked to the curb. Two weeks later, I walk in, as I’m leaving my rock climbing gym, I had about 15 employees at a company that did about $500,000.00 a year in Riverside, California. And I walk in, and I’m leading this company that I own only 20 percent of because, at that time, it was my idea, but I didn’t have enough money to own more than half of it. I rallied some investors to create it. This thriving rock climbing gym, it was a beautiful place.
I walk in one day, and I have my partners walk up to me and say, “Hey, Dale, we need to talk.” And I’m like oh, crap. And I’m 22 years old, immature leadership Dale. And they set me in what was the yoga room at the time, and we sit down. And they say, “Dale, we’ve got to fire you.” And my heart sunk almost like oh my gosh, wait, what? And I had no Plan B at the time. And I got let go because I was a horrible leader at the time. I was. I was able to do the right things the wrong way. And it was this moment that really put me into a downward spiral for quite a while in my entrepreneurial journey.
I slipped away realizing I got fired from my own company. I had no more paycheck at this point. And ultimately, it was this moment that what I talk about, even in my book, is the golden rule is that now, forever, since that moment is that I call the golden rule is that we fire people the way we want to be fired. And that day, I was not fired with love or grace. And I learned from that point on, any time I make a termination, I treat them as people, again, feeling into the book. But I walk away this time in really a fritz trying to figure out what’s my next thing. I was embarrassing. It was humiliating.
But it spun me into a serious amount of growth. I think I read about 200 books in the next 2 years almost in a revenge way, which was an unhealthy way, but to prove that I was worthy of being a great leader. And it took a lot of growth. So after that, I ended up starting my advertising agency and my conference company and then Sevenly. And it took a few years to really come back from that fail.
John: I mean, I look at some of my failures when I was that age, and I can put myself back there. And I thought it was the end of the world. I was like this is it. My future is ruined. And looking back now at 35, I’m like I was so young. I mean, I wish I had just taken a step back and said, “Hey, John, you’re 22 years old. Take a breath, relax, travel to India for like six months, and just kind of like do a few things because you have such a marathon life ahead of you. Treat it the right way.” I mean, that’s a huge takeaway for me listening to your story right now is that we just take the weight of the world on right now.
I mean, I know that if things come crashing around me right now at 35, I’ll be like oh my God, my life is over. But at 45, I’ll be like, “Dude, you were so young at 35.” That’s my big takeaway. What do you want Fire Nation, our listeners, in just one sentence to really take away from that period in your life?
Dale: When you look at your life and your ability to produce income, to produce influence, to produce influence, you look in your past so that you can move forward. Actually, the Hebrew word for faith is a man in a rowboat, and he’s looking backwards rowing forwards. And the image is that he can only move forward because he looks at his past. So what I will tell you is that, in the first journeys, it’s very difficult to say I don’t have much history. But as you fail and fail and fail again, especially as you get older, you look at your past, and you say, “Look, but I’ve won here. I’ve won there. I’ve won there.”
And you trust that you’ll win again. I did not think that I was going to go from my $500,000.00 threshold experience at my rock climbing gym to building a $10 million e-commerce company 4 years later. But now, even after Sevenly is now a past for my season, I have this trust and this faith that I can do this again and even better.
John: Wow, love that message. And Dale, you’ve had some ah-ha moments. I mean, you just talked about a number of them. But take us to one particular ah-ha moment that you know Fire Nation, at our core, will resonate with.
Dale: One of my favorite quotes is that if you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs. And that quote, for me, has rang true as I have been this raging entrepreneur for now 10 years or almost 11 years. And this moment where you say I want to control my life. I want to have the freedom to choose. I want to create something with influence and something that changes the world. And this has been the drive for me is that I’m actually completely and utterly unemployable. And it’s the ability that I have to work for myself and create. And it’s this drive to do this that really continues for me to be a serial entrepreneur.
And I know that I’ll create things in the future. But I tell you people that are standing on the sidelines that have a job, at some point, if you’re a dreamer, and you have something that you want to create, remember that fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. Get out there and do it.
John: I mean, I kind of get goose bumps when you say that quote that if you don’t just step up, Fire Nation, and build your own dreams, someone is going to hire you to build theirs. And is that the kind of legacy or the kind of life that you want to look back upon? And I know, because you’re listening to Entrepreneur on Fire, that the answer to that is no. And Dale, we are, my friend, about to enter the lightening round. But before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Dale, welcome to the lightening round where you get to share incredible resources and mind blowing answers. Sound like a plan?
Dale: I’m in.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Dale: The fear of the unknown. It was I don’t know how to do this. I felt under trained. And the information wasn’t there in my mind. As I said earlier, you don’t have the education system that structures you to be an entrepreneur. We are trained to be employees. So it’s the self-education. It’s this power into books and audio books and training courses that I needed at that time. And yes, it was just not being ready and feeling like I didn’t know where my next step was.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Dale: The best advice I’ve ever received was just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And just because it’s smart doesn’t mean it’s right. And it were these two statements that really helped me as they sit between almost every decision that I make to make sure that I’m making the best steps with integrity, with honesty, with authenticity, with transparency, and the ability to really make decisions that don’t hurt people and that actually grow my life in the right direction.
John: What’s a personal habit that you do have that you believe contributes to your success?
Dale: The eye for design. I think that graphic designers and interior designers, it has nothing to do with the tools. It has everything to do with your eye. And I developed my eye in this habit of understanding design. I sit back almost weekly and look at what’s the trending in graphic design and interior design and fashion design? And I try to understand where things are going. And I would say most of my success is actually tied back to the understanding that design is very powerful. It brings credibility and trust, and it continues to grow companies in the right direction.
John: Love that. Do you have an internet resource like Ever Notes that you can share with our listeners?
Dale: For me, one of my biggest internet resources is Dribbble.com. And this is, again, one of those places that I go for design. And I sit there, and I look at it every week. It’s the top designers in the world. And they get a chance to put their portfolios up. And I study them. I understand web design and UI and UX. And I try to get into what branding is going, logos, is it flat, dimensional, what’s happening, white space. And this is a place that I spend a lot of time to grow as a business leader.
John: So Dale, People Over Profit, Fire Nation knows this is a must read. They need to invest in themselves, read these words absolutely. If you could recommend another book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Dale: The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeyer. This book is probably the only book that you’ll need to read as a branding person. So I recommend every entrepreneur on the planet to read this book. It’s a chance for you to get probably the clearest, most concise version and definition of branding within a short, beautiful amount of pages. Nobody likes a long book.
John: Says [00:20:22] [inaudible].
Dale: Exactly, right? But this book is incredible. It’s beautifully designed, and it will teach you how to be a branding person within an hour and a half of finishing it.
John: Anybody, I love that, I need that. Everybody should be reading that. That’s huge. And quick question, Dale. Is People Over Profit an audio book?
Dale: It is. People Over Profit is an audio book.
Dale: Boom. I’m so excited. Actually, I’m actually in the middle of recording it right now. So you can pre-order it now. And it will be fully available.
John: I love when authors do their own audio books. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. James Al Tusher does it incredibly well. If you haven’t listened to his audio book, Choose Yourself, it’s a great example. He throws some bonuses in there like his wife comes in one time, and he’s like, “Honey, no, I don’t have to go pee. If I have to go pee, I’ll press pause, and I’ll get up and go pee.” And he keeps it in. It’s hysterical. It’s like my favorite part of the book. And Fire Nation, you know I love audio. And I know you love audio. So I teamed up with Audible. And if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at eofirebook.com.
And Dale, this next question is the last of the lightening round, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter, taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Dale: I would actually become a farmer. Now, I’ll tell you, for me, most of my life, as I’m learning as I get older, is that I’m hustling so that I can be a farmer. Now, this is such a weird thing to think about. But my philosophy is that I have this really good connection with the land. And I love to sit and – I own a 7 acre ranch here in Central Oregon. And I love getting outside and sitting and staring at the mountains. And I’d love to just create that experience and help people understand the beauty and value of creating their own food and really understanding the stars and getting a chance to see rivers and streams.
And a little bit less off the laptop, but really getting into the earth some more.
John: Wow, that’s something I never would have guessed. But I actually do resonate with it surprisingly much. And Dale, I want to end today how we started on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say good bye.
Dale: Parting advice would be promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. And I’ve spent a lot of time being very cynical as an entrepreneur. Solving problems, as an entrepreneur, is one of these things where you fight against this lie. You fight against these things in the world. But nobody loves a negative person. And as I’ve grown older in my maturity and my leadership, I try to really watch what I say, what comes out of my mouth, and what comes off my tongue. And it’s this ability to really just talk about the things that are building you up and not tearing you down.
And what that does is it brings more of the right people around you, and it creates this great community of people that believe in you because you’re constantly pushing what’s good.
John: Well said. And what’s the best way that we can connect with you?
Dale: You can follow me anywhere on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Instagram, P-interest is my main source, @dalepartridge. I’m also making a great offer for the Entrepreneur on Fire community at peopleoverprofit.com/fire. It will be a place for you to actually get my book and also a bunch of goodies with it. I’m going to include a People Matter e-book, three 3 minute People Over Profit leadership video lessons, a private podcast. That’s all yours, guys.
John: What? Fire Nation, come on. You know that you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. And you’ve been hanging out with Dale P and JLD today. So keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com. Just type Dale in the search bar. His show notes page will pop right up with all the greatness of what we’ve talked about today. Again, anything you want to connect with him on, it’s dalepartridge@dalepartridge, dalepartridge.com. You name it, it’s there. And of course, the special gift for you, Fire Nation, peopleoverprofit.com/fire. A lot of goodies there waiting for you.
Make it happen. Take advantage of these amazing opportunities that my guests are giving to you. And Dale, I just want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, my friend, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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