Dubbed “The Millennial Millionaire” by CNBC, Grant Sabatier went from $2.26 to $1 million in 5 years through side hustling and investing. After reaching financial independence at the age of 30, he founded MillennialMoney.com, where he writes about investing, personal finance, entrepreneurship and co-hosts the Millennial Money Minutes podcast.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:08] – Grant has been an entrepreneur for 7 years now
- [01:21] – He looked at what made the world’s wealthiest people successful and found that most of them were entrepreneurs with diverse income streams
- [02:45] – Grant’s area of expertise is understanding and analyzing market opportunities and how consumer preferences are changing
- [03:04] – Entrepreneurs don’t often analyze Google Search data to find out that consumer patterns are shifting
- [04:00] – Use Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to monitor keyword variations and build your understanding about how searches are shifting
- [04:59] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: A vast majority of entrepreneurs underprice their value
- [05:51] – Price as high as you are able
- [05:57] – “Digital marketing is getting increasingly competitive”
- [07:18] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Grant was building websites for law firms. The biggest website he had built up to that point was worth $5K. He was so excited to get the opportunity to pitch a big firm where he would quote $50K. The firm wanted the site in 3 months, but Grant said he could do it in 3 weeks. He ended up winning the bid and a week later, the marketing contact told Grant that the second lowest bid was $175K— they were prepared to pay him at least $150K
- [09:33] – Another terrible moment for Grant was when the app store launched. He had an idea to create an app that would show people where the hottest bars or clubs were at the time. He went to pitch it in Chicago where one investor owned a restaurant. The investor asked Grant why restaurants would want to use his app if it’s going to show that their restaurants were unpopular. Grant didn’t have an answer for him.
- [12:58] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: The biggest idea Grant had was essentially to work for himself. He was into the early retirement, financial independence movement. He figured if he could amass liquid assets worth $1.25M and invest them conservatively, he could live off of that for the rest of his life. He started backtracking and broke it down into daily increments. It showed that he only needed to save at least $150-$200 per day for the next 5 years to make it possible
- [15:05] – Think long term
- [15:42] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I just signed a book deal with Penguin Random House. I’m putting all my money ideas into a book”
- [17:54] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Worrying that I was going to fail”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “March to a different drummer”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Meditate every morning for 20 minutes and try to drink a green juice every day”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – SEMRush
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Your Money or Your Life and Blue Ocean Strategy
- [19:26] – Connect with Grant on Twitter and on Millennial Money
- [19:48] – “Stay true to who you are”
Grant Sabatier: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: Nice. Dubbed the Millennial Millionaire by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to $1 million in just five years through side hustling and investing. After reaching financial independence at the age of 30, he founded millennialmoney.com where he writes about investing, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and cohosts the Millennial Money Minutes Podcast. Grant take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Grant Sabatier: Yeah. So, I’ve been an entrepreneur now for about the last seven years. It’s really a huge transitional jump for me. When I was broke living at home with my parents with just $2.26, I was like there has to be a better way. So, I looked at what made the world’s wealthiest people actually successful and figured out that they have essentially two things in common.
A vast majority of them are entrepreneurs, and most of them have diverse income streams. So, I changed my mindset, and really from then on focused on building as many income streams as possible and really just changed my whole focus on life. And that was essentially what allowed me to significantly increase my annual income after that from $50,000.00 to $400,000.00. And it’s just been crazy ever since.
John Lee Dumas: Amazing! And being an entrepreneur Fire Nation and having diverse income streams are two amazing things. It’s a Warren Buffet quote something along the lines of when the tide comes out, everybody who wasn’t wearing a bathing suit’s gonna be exposed. And that’s gonna happen. We’ve had multiple, multiple downturns in our economy, whether it be 2001, 2007.
It’s been a while now, so who knows when that next one’s gonna come. It could be sooner. It could be later. Who knows? But if you only have one income stream, and that is an industry that happens to get crushed, you’re in trouble. But if you have more eggs in multiple baskets, you’re gonna have a lot easier time recovering from whatever is coming. Now, what I want you to do right now Grant is share with us what you consider your area of expertise.
Grant Sabatier: I’ve been working now in digital marketing for, gosh, about ten years. My specific area of expertise in addition to just understanding investing deeply is I really understand how to analyze market opportunities and understand how consumer preferences are changing. So, one of the big things that I do and I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t do is analyze Google search data to understand how, basically, consumer patterns are shifting. So, every time that I’ve launched a product or helped a brand or really done anything, including launching Millennial Money, I took a long time to actually analyze how, basically, consumers felt about the particular idea before just jumping in.
And I think a lot of entrepreneurs they just get excited about a project, and they really don’t do any analysis of the market or the market opportunity. If there’s only 20 Google searches a month for something that you’re thinking about launching, there’s a pretty high chance that you’re not gonna be successful.
So, when you analyze search data, which I have now a team that just monitors Google search data to understand how consumer preferences are changing, and it really helps me identify market opportunities really as they’re at that sort of blow-up stage. And I think that’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs should do. You can use Google Keyword Planner or simple tools like SEMrush.
Just monitor 10 to 20 different keyword variations to understand are searches in this going up, going down, how are they shifting? And if you actually analyze the keyword data well, the keyword data will show you how to sell your product. So, people when they’re searching on Google, they include things that they’re worried about. They include things that they’re interested in buying. So, paying attention to that keyword search data is incredibly important for any type of entrepreneur.
John Lee Dumas: Keep your finger on the pulse Fire Nation. It’s not that hard these days. With the tools that Grant’s talking about, you can see what’s trending, what people are talking about, what is going in the opposite direction, by the way, what people aren’t talking about. This is fascinating, incredibly important stuff of keeping that finger on the pulse. Now, Grant real quick beyond that what’s something that we should know as entrepreneurs in your area of expertise that we just probably don’t?
Grant Sabatier: I think the biggest thing – and I was gonna touch on this throughout the interview – is just a vast majority of entrepreneurs, especially the ones who are offering services whether it’s consulting or advisory or execution services or campaign management, a vast majority of them under price. And I think a lot of newer entrepreneurs and even experienced entrepreneurs – I see this all the time – they undercut their value. They’re so worried about not getting a deal that they don’t price high enough at the fear of losing an opportunity. But at the end of the day, a vast majority of your wealth is gonna be focused around or is gonna be achieved through maximizing your value. So, trying to get paid as much per hour as much per project as you can.
And that’s one of the things that I’ve really, really focused on in all aspects of my entrepreneurial ventures just pushing the envelope and trying to charge and price as much as possible. The other thing is just with digital marketing specifically. It’s getting increasingly competitive, especially on Google, to rank for the high value keywords.
And a lot of entrepreneurs they don’t do that analysis of the other competitors in the market. And if there’s a big behemoth outranking you for the type of product that you’re trying to sell, it’s gonna take you a year or multiple years to actually even potentially outrank the big boys or the big players.
So, the key is if you are thinking about launching anything, really take a deep dive into analyzing, basically, your competition’s visibility on Google, the visibility on social. And then try to make a unique pitch or offer something of unique value, and come in the side door. It’s the only way that you as a first-time entrepreneur or a small entrepreneur are gonna get any visibility is to do things a little bit differently than the big players.
John Lee Dumas: And what is exciting is that a lot of the big players are sleeping at the controls. I mean, they’re just focused on other things. They aren’t focused on what they might consider the little things even though they really could have huge, massive impacts. And they should have a lot of focus.
It doesn’t mean they always do. Now, Grant what’s your worst entrepreneurial moment? I’m talking about the darkest of the dark moment. Take us to that day that you would consider the worst moment that happens, and tell us that story.
Grant Sabatier: Yeah, I think a lot of entrepreneurs have had that moment where I wasn’t selling business, or I was really just doubting myself. But the one that I wanted to pick for this is I hate, hate, hate, and I ultimately regret leaving any money on the table. And this goes back to that point of just underpricing yourself. This was early on I my entrepreneurial career when I was building websites for a bunch of different businesses and law firms in particular. And the biggest website I built to that date was a $5,000.00 project, and I got so excited I got this opportunity to pitch this big law firm. And I quoted $50,000.00 for the gig, which was a huge step up for me, obviously. It’s like 10X what I had previously charged before.
And I knew that the only opportunity that I had was to come in with a lower price and to do it faster than they were expecting. So, in the RFP, they said hey, we want this website done in three months. I told them that I could get it done in three weeks and that I knew that the fast pace and the price could probably get me the work.
Well, I ended up winning the business, and about a week later, the marketing contact told me that the next lowest bid was $175,000.00, and that they were actually prepared to pay me up to $150,000.00. So, I left 100 grand on the table just because I was both afraid, and I didn’t understand the value and the perceived value of what I was offering to that law firm. So, that’s something I regret. I still think about that. I think about probably once a week still to this day.
John Lee Dumas: As the Family Man would say, that really grinds my gears. But the reality is Grant I’m not gonna let you get away with that because that was a good story, good lesson learned. But still you made $50,000.00 on that deal. So, even though you might be frustrated about it, it wasn’t your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. So, Grant let’s be honest. Take us there. What was that day?
Grant Sabatier: I had a few. So, I had three big entrepreneurial fails before I found the one that hit it big.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s just hear the one that you think will be the most enjoyable for us to listen, the biggest –
Grant Sabatier: Oh man.
John Lee Dumas: – failure.
Grant Sabatier: Yeah, here’s a great one. So, this is right after the App Store launched. I had this idea to create this app basically that would show anyone – it’s a geolocation app that would show anyone what the hottest bars or hottest clubs were at that time.
John Lee Dumas: Hum.
Grant Sabatier: So, it was called Dig the Vibe. People that were in the bar or in the club, they would have the app open. And if it was really bumping, they could just click one button like are you digging the vibe, yes or no? And super simple, and they’d say yes. And, basically, anyone could look on the map just like a Yelp, and they could see the bars or the clubs that were bumping.
And then the bars themselves could offer promos, and I had it all worked out. It was such a perfect idea. And I went to pitch it, and I had the opportunity to pitch to these investors in Chicago. And one of them owned, basically, a big restaurant group that cleared a bunch of bars.
And he asked me a simple question about going out. He’s like, “Well, why would restaurants want to use this because it would basically show the restaurants that weren’t popular. No one would go to them. So why would they even agree to just sign up?” And that was something that, honestly, I was so young. I was dumb. I hadn’t thought about why people wouldn’t do something.
I was so convinced that they would, and that simple question given the fact that I wasn’t a club goer myself, so I didn’t really understand the market fully. I crashed and burned not only in that pitch, but that project thankfully I only wasted four or five months on it.
John Lee Dumas: Well, let me ask you this though because I am curious. Now, why would you have to get the clubs or restaurants permission? I mean, this is a geolocation app. Couldn’t it had just been something where it’s the customer, the person that’s in there, has that option? I mean, I look at things like Foursquare and Facebook Location or whatever it is. I mean, I’m just going into a place, and I am just checking in so to speak. So, how does that work?
Grant Sabatier: Yeah, the question goes you’re absolutely right that you could have any restaurant or bar on there without needing to ask them. But the whole idea of monetization it’s like why would someone whose bar that doesn’t get a lot of people why would they pay to place an offer on the service?
So, this is at the time when geolocation offers were just starting to pop up. So, the idea was if no one is at your bar, and you want to get people, you could give an offer say for $10.00 or $15.00 off or something. And then people would show up at your bar. But, basically, the idea is that, obviously, everyone would go to the bars that were bumping. And so, if the bar was already bumping, that bar wouldn’t need to offer a deal. And so, it created this kind of –
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, I get it.
Grant Sabatier: – we’ll give you a deal if you’ll show here. And it just didn’t hold up. I did a beta test with a few restaurants in Chicago.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah.
Grant Sabatier: And that’s the biggest complain that they had, and I just didn’t understand the opportunity as well as the fact that you need significant user adoption for it to even work. And in order to get to that threshold was gonna be A.) Cost prohibitive unless it goes viral, just super hard to get to that critical mass of users, which I, basically, figured I was about 150,000 for it to even make sense.
John Lee Dumas: Grant what’s one of the greatest ideas that you’ve had to date? Take us to that story.
Grant Sabatier: This goes back to my investing. So, I write a lot about investing on Millennial Money. And the biggest idea I had was when I first started really pursuing entrepreneurship in 2010, it was essentially to A.) Work for myself and get as quickly as possible to when work is optional. So, I got super into the early retirement, financial independence movement. And I went straight to the numbers to figure out how fast can I retire, and how much money do I need.
And so, when I did the calculations, I figured out if I could, at the age of 24, in five years amass basically liquid assets of 1.25 million and invest them relatively conservatively, I could live off that money for the rest of my life and pull off about $40,000.00 or $50,000.00 a year. So, I was like whoa. How am I gonna save $1.2 million in five years?
And so, I started backtracking, and I broke it down into daily increments and figured out that I needed to save between $150.00 and $200.00 per day over the next five years to make that possible with an expected investment return. And so, the simple idea of just breaking any money habit into or any money goal into daily habits makes it so much more accessible and really pushes you.
And thinking about money each day, I was able to every day wake up with the mindset of today I’m gonna make as much money as possible. And then I would just hustle to make it happen. So, I was thinking how can I make some extra money today even if it’s something as simple as like yeah, I’ll watch my neighbor’s cat to get $60.00 to invest because the value of that $60.00 today, the future value of it, that $60.00 in 10, 20 years will maybe be worth $300.00 to $500.00. And so, I started looking at the world in terms of future value instead of just present value. And literally every dollar that I made from side hustling over that five years I’ve invested.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation it comes down to the mentality of this is a marathon that we’re on. You have to think long term. These short term wins of buying that car, putting the down payment on the house, now having a mortgage and anchoring yourself, getting into tons of student loan debt, I mean, this is all detracting from your future.
So, you need to look at the marathon of life and say hey, yeah, it might not feel like a lot of money that I’m putting 125 bucks a month away. But when I look out what’s gonna happen over a lifetime with that money, it’s incredible with the compound interest, etc. Now, Mark having made that breakthrough you’ve obviously had a lot of success in different areas. But what’s the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Grant Sabatier: Yeah, so, I just signed a book deal with Penguin Random House, so I’m putting basically all of my money ideas into a book. And it goes beyond money ideas to your point about just the compounding interest of money. I’m a big believer in the compounding interest of life.
So, every relationship that you invest in, every conversation, every skill that you learn, every dollar that you invest, the more that you do that while you’re young the more it’s going to compound and give you over your lifetime. And I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t think about that hey, the reason I’m investing in this person or in this connection or in this skill that’s what compounds.
And if you do that a lot when you’re young, you wake up like I am at 32, and you know how to code in five languages. You can speak three languages. You’ve got a massive network of people. And that’s what opens up doors and opens up opportunities. A conversation that I had four or five years ago with someone has led to some of my biggest deals today.
And if I hadn’t been open to that conversation and really saw the opportunity in it, I would have been closing a door that honestly took five years to open. And so, that’s what I’m super fired up to share these millennial money ideas with the world. I’ve gone deep into behavior finance and psychology to understand really how our brain thinks and works about money.
And I’ve created a whole plan for how to rewire your brain in 30 days to think about money differently and really just turn your mind into a money-making machine. So, when you get rid of a lot of those negative emotions and you just build better habits and strategies, there’s ways that you can fight against what are essentially millions of years of evolution in our brain that’s holding us back. So, I’m super stoked about that. I’m deep in writing. I was just in Michigan and crushed through about 13,000 words in –
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Grant Sabatier: – three days. So, that’s what’s on my mind right now.
John Lee Dumas: Wow, love that! And speaking of money making machine, Fire Nation, we’re gonna be a value bomb dropping machine in the lightning round. So, don’t you go anywhere. We’re gonna take a quick minute and thank our sponsors. Grant are you ready to rock the lightning round?
Grant Sabatier: Totally! Let’s do it!
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Grant Sabatier: Worry that I was gonna fail.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Grant Sabatier: March to a different drummer. If everyone else is doing it, it’s probably the wrong way to do it.
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Grant Sabatier: Meditate every morning for 20 minutes and try to drink a green juice every day.
John Lee Dumas: Hum, and what do you use to meditate?
Grant Sabatier: Head space. I’m deep into, like, Tibetan. One of my fans recommended this Tibetan Monk Chant playlist on Spotify. So –
John Lee Dumas: Ooh.
Grant Sabatier: – I’m deep into that right now and really enjoying it.
John Lee Dumas: Share an internet resource like Evernote with Fire Nation.
Grant Sabatier: I think the most powerful tool that I use is SEMrush. It’s a way to monitor keyword data, competitor data, really organic traffic rankings. SEMrush. Check it out.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Grant Sabatier: My favorite personal finance book of all time is Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin. And my favorite book on strategy – I’m gonna do a two-for here – Blue Ocean Strategy blew my mind, and it’ll blow yours too.
John Lee Dumas: Great! And I want to end today on Fire brother with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say good-bye.
Grant Sabatier: Yeah, check me out on millennialmoney.com, on Twitter @millennialmoney. Those are the two best ways to find me. Shoot me a tweet; hit me up on the website. It’s where I hang out. And hey, John, this was a ton of fun. I love the podcast, and I am –
John Lee Dumas: Thank you!
Grant Sabatier: – so stoked to be a guest!
John Lee Dumas: Well, you rocked the mic brother. So, give us a parting piece of guidance.
Grant Sabatier: Stay true to who you are. Take everything one day at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. When you get too far ahead of yourself, that’s when the fear, the anxiety, the uncertainty sets in. Wake up every day and try to execute against your strategy. Take it a day at a time, and don’t forget to take a deep breath. As like I always say, chill as hard as you hustle.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you have been hanging out with GS and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Grant in the search bar, and his show and his page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz: timestamps, links, transcripts. And, of course, check out millenialmoney.com. And Grant I want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that brother, we salute you. And we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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