Edward Massey grew up in the mountains of Utah. His West propelled him to pursue freedom and independence, giving him the willingness to take on the unknown: a step that changed his life forever. Personal experience with every level of business and society supports his writing and enriches those he touches through his consulting and speaking.
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- Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
- ‘Never, ever ever ever ever give up.’ – Winston Churchill
- ‘Respect the momentum.’ – Edward Massey
- Edward shares a story of a time he threw away 8 years of awesome for 8 weeks of agony…
Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment
- The truth can hurt Fire Nation, but as Edward shares in this episode, it can also be the best thing you can do for yourself… and others!
- Edward is a writer, and you better believe he writes every single day – in fact, for a minimum 4-hours. His results are simply astounding!
Best Business Book
- Every Soul Is Free by Edward Massey
John Lee Dumas: Light that spark, Fire Nation. John Lee Dumas here. I am fired up to bring you our featured guest today, Edward Massey. Edward, are you prepared to ignite?
Edward Massey: Absolutely, John. I struggled to get here and now I’m ready to ignite and explode.
John Lee Dumas: I love it. Edward grew up in the mountains of Utah. His west propelled him to pursue freedom and independence giving him the willingness to take on the unknown. A step that changed his life forever. Personal experience with every level of business and society supports his writing, enriches those he touches through his consulting and speaking. Edward, I’ve given Fire Nation just a little insight. Share a little bit more about you personally, then expand upon the biz.
Edward Massey: I will. I’ve had a wonderful long life. As you mentioned, I valued independence and self-reliance. It came about from having grown up in a little town in Utah. Ultimately, being an exchange student that changed my life. As an adult, I started or financed for companies that went public. Symbion, Iomed, Anesta and U.S. HomeCare. I’ve been a consultant with the best consulting firm in the world, McKinsey & Company. I was a partner at the best VC firm Warburg Pincus. I owned a AA baseball team. I was affiliated with the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve had a lot of setbacks too. I’ve been writing now as entirely my focus for the past seven years.
John Lee Dumas: What I’m excited about, Edward, is that’s you’re a person with amazing stories. That’s what we focus on in Entrepreneurial Fire is the story. Before we get into the stories of your journey, we always start with a success quote. Share that quote and why you chose it.
Edward Massey: I’m going to give you two of them. The first one is from somebody else namely Churchill. That quote is never give up. I have a bookmark with that engraved in it. That was one of the things that he really believed in. Never give up. I wish I could do a Churchill accent, “Never give up.” My personal mantra is related to it. It took several years of painful mistakes to create it. That is, “respect the momentum.” What I mean by that is, you have to understand that you’ve got to create momentum, create momentum in your life and what you’re doing, and then once you’ve got it started, cherish it and keep it going.
It’s related to never give up but it’s really focused on the notion that it takes a lot of work to get your momentum going and once you’ve got it going, don’t turn away from it; respect it, keep it going.
John Lee Dumas: I love that because especially in entrepreneurship and business. We have to work so hard just to get that little momentum going. Once you start getting that ball rolling down the hill, if it does turn into that snowball and it’s getting bigger and bigger with more momentum and with more speed and juice, you don’t wanna stay in the way of that. Respect that momentum you’ve built up and let that puppy roll.
Edward Massey: That’s exactly right. And don’t leave it. Don’t step aside. Don’t be too willing to see that the grass is greener on the other side. If you’ve got momentum, just keep up with it. Never give up.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, here at Entrepreneurial on Fire, we love stories. You’re our featured guest today. We’re turning the spotlight onto you, my friends, and we’re gonna talk about the good times, the successes, the ah-ha moments but we always start with a tough time, with a failure, with an obstacle, with a challenge. Can you, Edward, take us to a moment in time where you failed? Tell us that story so we can analyze some lessons learned.
Edward Massey: I’ve had so many failures. I have made and lost so much money that I fear recounting them all would almost be an act of hubris. Believe me, I’m not proud of them but when you hit the bottom, you move on. The most relevant one I wanna talk about is the most recent one. In 2007, I was running a family office in Greenwich, Connecticut for a wealthy entrepreneurial man who’d made more than three quarters of $1 billion. I was helping him manage his money. After eight years, I left to reach for the brass ring. Once more, this was to go out in a real estate partnership with three other people who were already established partners. It turns out that no brass ring there, only Anesta vipers.
I traded eight years of high compensation, high prestige employment for eight weeks of turmoil. I had been riding everyday for a long time when I took that step; maybe five or six years by then. Maybe just out of anguish and a lot of embarrassment, I committed myself to writing full time at that point. Fast forward since then, I’ve published two novels.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, what I kind of wanna do is analyze for one second the decision that you made to take that leap that again kind of washed away eight years of a really great situation and to just eight weeks of that turmoil, that viperness so to speak. What can we take away from this? What can we learn? What’s in hindsight could you have done to maybe educate yourself a little more about what you were getting into?
Edward Massey: There are two things that are in that, that are important. The first one is go back to the thing about respect the momentum. I had a very good job, a very well established job, high compensation with a very good person, high prestige and for some reason or another, I got it in my head it wasn’t enough. It turned out that it certainly was enough with 20/20 hindsight when you’ve got nothing. You chose nothing; that’s one thing. The second thing is people judgment is really, really hard. I’ve gotta admit that. When you want to create a venture and you want it to be successful and you wanna create the next big thing and you wanna do it with people, you really have to double down on your people judgment.
I was frankly, wanting to do it so much that I just wasn’t as careful as I should’ve been on the people judgment. It just didn’t work out at the level of our being partners.
John Lee Dumas: That’s one thing that we, as entrepreneurs, always need to be thinking about when we’re starting these ventures and we’re gonna bring on partners to start from day one or maybe we’re already joining a team that’s off and launching or maybe we’re just solopreneurs but now we’re in the process of building a team. It’s so important to do it the right way. Edward, I’ve now interviewed over 770 entrepreneurs over the course of the past two years and there are a lot of similar things that keeping coming up and cropping up again and again when it comes to team building or joining a team.
A lot of it has to do with following your instincts, following your intuition and your guts, but then specifically, when you do find yourself in the wrong situation to high or slow and fire fast or your situation it sounds like you kind of took the route of figure it out quickly and then quit fast. What are your thoughts about that type of mentality?
Edward Massey: I’ll tell you what. When I told you I was once a partner at the best venture capital firm in the country, Warburg Pincus, and their philosophy was one I’ve never forgotten, which is that “lemons ripen fast, other kinds of fruit take a longer period of time.” You have to respect the fact that if it’s gonna go bad, you’re gonna know it soon and act on it.
John Lee Dumas: Lemons ripen fast, I love that. Fire Nation, absorb that. Edward, let’s kind of go to the other end of the spectrum now. Again, let’s kind of keep the same mentality about telling stories because we, as humans, we just learn so much from just that in-person that story feel. This time, I want you to share an epiphany or an ah-ha moment or a light bulb that went off at some point in your entrepreneurial journey. Edward, you were the first to admit, you have been at this for a long time. You’ve had lots of these great ah-ha moments. Which one will be the best story for us to hear today that we can really walk away with some lessons about how you turned that idea into success?
Edward Massey: I’m gonna take you way, way, way, way back to the very beginning. You gotta remember I came from a rural community, not a very well educated family. I ended up going to a pretty good school and I was terrified. My first final exam in college English comes up. They hand me an exam question and Joyce Kilmer’s trees and says, “The question was read and analyze Joyce Kilmer’s trees.” It was drivel. My God, it was just the silliest damn thing I’d ever read. I’m sitting there and that’s what I put in the blue book. I got a 98. That was the moment at that age, I had not yet turned 19, I knew that what you had to do was tell the truth as you saw it.
That’s happened to me a – there’d been a lot of repeat examples like that where just telling the truth to somebody even when it was a cantankerous situation actually ended up creating the strongest friendships. Over and over again, I’ve had that experience. Mind you, sometimes they’re not always positive because telling the truth and really dealing with things the way you see it, it’s the best thing to do.
John Lee Dumas: No, it is so true, Edward. That phrase, the truth can hurt is just a reality for a lot of different reasons because a lot of people don’t wanna face the facts. They don’t wanna face the truth. The reality is, and Edward, I’m so glad that you brought up this specific point because it goes to kind of the overarching theme that started to develop within this interview as that’s you need to be on it. You need to be genuine. You need to be authentically yourself in every action that you do. You don’t wanna be putting on airs or putting on a fake mask because, 1.) You’re not serving yourself but 2.) You’re not serving those around you in the proper way.
Really focusing on being authentic, Fire Nation, is a great path to take in your situations and will guide you well. Edward, what is the one takeaway that you really want our listeners, Fire Nation, to take from that experience that happened way back when you were 19 that maybe we can apply to our lives today in this entrepreneurial age of 2014?
Edward Massey: Just to tie it back to what we were talking about in terms of the failure, just think about the notion that you’ve hired somebody you’ve had very high expectations and you’ve worked with them who knows how long but all of a sudden you’ve got that great sinking feeling you know it’s not gonna work out. You just have to face it immediately. I’ll give you a tangible example.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, cool.
Edward Massey: When I hired people to be in a sales force, I always knew that the only thing I could tell in an interview was whether I could stand it to be in the room with them. Other than that, I couldn’t tell anything because it takes a year or two for a real good salesman to develop. It doesn’t take 90 days for a washout to happen. If it’s going to be that you’ve gotta bite the bullet and say, “I’ve made a mistake. This isn’t gonna work out,” you have to face it. You have to tell the truth as you see it and move on.
John Lee Dumas: Love this, Fire Nation. Love the fact that we’re getting this incredible information and knowledge from a guy who’s been there and done that over and over again. Edward, of all these moments that you’ve had that you rightfully so are very proud of, what would you point to and what story would you tell if I asked you to take us to your proudest entrepreneurial moment?
Edward Massey: I hope you’ll allow me to say that that’s still to come.
John Lee Dumas: Cool.
Edward Massey: That may be a ploy to be asked back by you. It could be the word proud. To be sure it was a great thrill to have the fourth best performing IPO of 1991, it was a great thrill to throw out the first pitch for the first game of my minor league baseball team and it was a thrill last month to win the League of Utah Writers Gold Quill for the grand prize for published novel in 2014. I still think the greatest moment is yet to come. I don’t know what it is yet but it’s coming.
John Lee Dumas: I love that attitude. Fire Nation, this is the type of things that we talk about. Success and happiness is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal. Edward, that comes straight from Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret. What’s so powerful about that in realizing it is that we’re not going for some end line, we’re not going to some finish line. That’s not the focus of our journeys right now is to get to the end line. It’s the gradual realization of a worthy ideal. The key words there being gradual. You’re gradually realizing and not just any ideal but a worthy ideal.
Edward’s on that journey. Of course, his proudest moment is yet to come. Bringing things to today, Edward, to talk about right now, your present moment in time, what is one thing that just has you really fired up?
Edward Massey: I want you to remember, I am a writer. I write everyday. I’m a novelist. I get up every morning and write four hours and believe me, at the end of those four hours, I just couldn’t be happier or more joyous. I have two published novels, Telluride Promise and Every Soul is Free. I’ve finished my third one, it’s on the way to the publisher. I’m in the midst of about a third of the way through the fourth. I’ll tell you more about the High Mountain Sherriff series but it’s the second in that shared series.
I currently think I have seven novels in my inventory. Your gradual build up to a moment is exactly what it is. You can’t, even if you write four hours a day, you can’t do more than, I don’t know, 1,000, 1,500 words so you gotta keep at it everyday. By the time I finish the seventh, I assume that they eighth will be there.
John Lee Dumas: Love that. Edward, we are about to enter the Lightning Round. Before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Edward Massey: Great. That’s a good thing to do.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, welcome to the Lighting Round where you get to share incredible resources in mind blowing answers. Sound like a plan?
Edward Massey: That’s a plan.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Edward Massey: I’m gonna answer all of these questions in the context of my writing career although they’re very close in many other regards. The thing that held me back the most was fear. It is an act of courage to get up and write everyday and face the fact that nobody cares whether I’m a writer or not and I gotta produce a product namely the book that they might want to write to buy. It’s not any different from the entrepreneurial career that was not writing. You still had the same problem that you were trying to create something that they didn’t yet know that you were creating. They hadn’t asked you to do. You have to just have the courage to keep after it. Fear is a terrible, terrible enemy.
John Lee Dumas: It truly is but it lives within us all.
Edward Massey: Yes, exactly.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Edward Massey: This is great. I was, as I said, a consultant with McKinsey & Company. My first study was with a senior engagement director, an older man, and at the end of the study, he did a thing called an engagement performance review. One of the things he said, “You know, you did a very good job but I do need to tell you that the faster you talk the less you know what you’re talking about.” I remember that and I carry that with me. I watch it in myself. I also watch it in other people. They start talking really, really fast and you’re pretty damn sure they don’t know what they’re talking about.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, you have maintained a very steady face throughout. I have a little inkling that you know what you’re talking about, my friend. Edward, share one of your personal habits above writing four hours a day that contributes to your success.
Edward Massey: I was about to say that the first one is simply a little bit like my mantra. I do think I’m probably a bit disciplined. I don’t give up. I do write everyday. I do exercise everyday. I take care of the things that I think I need to take care of. I think what’s important to note is that my problem is I get distracted. That’s different from giving up. I do get distracted. I think a lot of entrepreneurs get distracted. Things are exciting. You might wander over there and take a little time on that exciting idea or that blind alley. Still, you have to be disciplined to stay on the path.
John Lee Dumas: Love that. Do you have an Internet resource that you can share with our listeners?
Edward Massey: I’m probably going to bespeak my age here because it’s a little old fashioned. It’s research. Today, when I was writing, I had to decide what pistol Sherriff John Willford Simms was going to buy in September 1883. It took me about an hour right in the midst of the four hours I was writing. I got the right one. That was it. Right then, I just was able to do the research. I have to support myself so I do a lot of consulting. I wanna point out that it’s the same, in that regard, whenever I need to learn something about a problem or I need to learn something about a potential client, I really find the internet just dramatically changes our ability to inform ourselves.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, if you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be? Why?
Edward Massey: It’s gonna be my book, Every Soul is Free. It’s the novel I published this year. I’m not just saying that to promote myself, although I do recognize it’s bald self-promotion. I wanna tell you about a theme that I’m pursuing and it’s gaining some traction. That is that companies both entrepreneurial companies and big companies are using stories to educate themselves and their employees and to enhance their marketing. If you think about it, that’s exactly what you’re doing, John. You’re using stories. One of the things that I’m doing rather aggressively in promoting the sale of my book is promoting the stories that it has and that are useful to the businesses that I know about.
I’ll give you an example. Since I was in the wealth management business, a lot of the wealth management companies or divisions and banks want to communicate with high net worth individuals around the subject of how do you transfer family values, how do you transfer wealth across generations. My book Every Soul is Free is very much a book about multiple generations and the values that pass from one generation to the next. In terms of survival, it’s not at all about money. It gives you a chance and in the book there’s this one quote where Sheriff Simms says about his grandson, “I like to tell him stories. It gives him a chance to learn without being taught so damn much.”
John Lee Dumas: Every Soul is Free, Fire Nation. Edward, are you gonna turn this into an audiobook?
Edward Massey: I am going to turn it into an audiobook. It’s an e-book now and I’m going to turn it into an audiobook. I haven’t done that yet but definitely am.
John Lee Dumas: Good to know because I will say that Fire Nation, Edward, loves audio.
Edward Massey: Good.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audiobook for free at eofirebook.com. That’s eofirebook.com. I will definitely keep you updated when Every Soul is Free is available in the audible bookstore. Edward, this next question’s the last of the Lightning Round. It is a doozy, my friend. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning 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. All you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Edward Massey: I would write. I want to take you back to my comment on momentum. That’s why it’s important. All the hard lessons I had to learn were when I was my own momentum breaker. You’ve gotta know your momentum and you’ve gotta respect that I’m headed in this direction, the direction that I’m committed to and I’m headed in is writing. I’m just gonna keep going. Remember, like the mantra, never give up. I would continue if the last thing I did was just one more story that somebody could read, then that would be fine. I’d probably use up the $500.00 bucks because I don’t make any money.
John Lee Dumas: Your food and shelter’s taken care of so you could do that.
Edward Massey: Exactly. That’s right. My food was taken care of.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, and shelter. It might be a YMCA, Edward, but there will be a roof over your head.
Edward Massey: Exactly.
John Lee Dumas: Edward, let’s end today literally on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Edward Massey: I wonder if I may just tell you that everybody can, anything that I’ve said and if you find any of it interesting, Edwardmasseybooks.com is the website. It’s basically a writing career devoted to people who just get up every morning and keep going like never give up and the momentum. My e-mail is there. I’d love to have people e-mail me. I really love to connect with people. Edwardmasseybooks.com. My e-mail’s there and just send me an e-mail. I’ll answer it for sure.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Watch what you wish for. Fire Nation takes action. Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You have been hanging out with Edward and myself today. Keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Type Edward in the search bar. His shonos page will pop right up. Fire Nation, do what I’m gonna do.
Go check out Every Soul is Free because listen, you’ve heard Edward, you know the kind of dedication he puts into his writing. You know that it is just a golden star on the shelf right now. Edward, I just wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that my friends, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Edward Massey: Thanks a lot, John. I appreciate it. Thanks for working with me on this traffic jam.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, absolutely.
Edward Massey: Bye, bye.
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