John is the Founder and CEO of Pocket Risk. Pocket Risk is a risk assessment tool for financial advisors. It helps them figure out how much risk their clients are comfortable taking with their investments.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
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John Lee Dumas: Entrepreneurs near and far, John Lee Dumas here, and I am fired up to bring you our feature guest today, John Ndege. John, are you prepared to ignite?
John Ndege: Hell yeah.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. John is the founder and CEO of Pocket Risk. Pocket Risk is a risk assessment tool for financial advisors. It helps them figure out how much risk their clients are comfortable taking with their investments. John, given Fire Nation just a little insight, so share more about you, personally. Then, expand upon your biz.
John Ndege: Yeah. Sure, so just like the people listening to this right now, I’m kind of colored by my personal experience. Since graduating college, I always wanted to create my own business. I wanted to control my own destiny, create value, make money, and when I look back at my life and my entrepreneurial career, there was some seminal moments that really changed for me, and when I was young, I remember my uncle taking me around to various real estate developments and telling me I could create huge buildings and be a successful businessman.
I remember reading [00:01:07] [inaudible] that, and when that came out, that having an impact on me. Even just the neighborhood where I grew up in Wales, a low income neighborhood, and seeing how people struggled from paycheck to paycheck, I just decided that wasn’t the life that I wanted for myself, and so, I got into this entrepreneurial life. I created a business. I’ve had some fantastic experiences, being involved in the foundation. I worked at Facebook, and you know, now, I’ve created a business that helps people make good decisions about their financial future.
John Lee Dumas: So, John, let’s touch on that, for a second here. You mentioned the word foundation. You are, actually, the first of five consecutive interviews where I’m gonna be interviewing foundation members. We had Dane Maxwell, yesterday. He was on. He shared just why the foundation is so awesome and a lot of cool stories. Take about a minute, or so, because we have a lot to get to, my friend, but take about a minute and just share your experience, hearing about the foundation, and quickly, what it is for you, and what’s it meant for you, but of course, we’re gonna be talking about it more throughout this interview, as we go through, but take that away.
John Ndege: Yeah. Sure, so for me, the foundation was a transformational experience, and I really want to underline that word, transformational, because before, I had all these kind of self limiting beliefs of what was possible, what was necessary, in order to be, quote unquote, successful, and when I joined the foundation, I realized that so much of what I thought was necessary to meet my personal goals didn’t really exist. It was all in my head. It was actually relatively straightforward, so for me, the foundation had a huge impact.
Having that community, having that guidance around setting up a business, it was – has had a huge impact on my life the last few years.
John Lee Dumas: I just love hearing the story of how people first hear about things, kind of connecting that dot, so just take a couple of seconds, just real quick. Like, how did you first hear about the foundation?
John Ndege: That’s a good question. It was some years ago, now. I believe it must have been on Mixergy. I’m a big fan of Andrew Warner and what’s he done with Mixergy and that community there, and I saw an interview of Dane, and that’s when I started hearing about it, started Googling around, doing some research. I think I saw him on some other podcasts, and I was like, should I sign up for this? Should I not? Should I?
John Lee Dumas: It’s a big investment.
John Ndege: It was. My girlfriend was out one evening, and I was like – I was left alone with the credit card, and I was like –
John Lee Dumas: Oh no.
John Ndege: Should I do this, and I did it, and it was a fantastic decision.
John Lee Dumas: Cool stuff. Well, let me tell you, the Mixergy, great podcast. You know, if only they could produce seven day a week show, right John? So, John, we’re gonna talk about your journey, my friends. It’s a fascinating one, for obvious reasons, but let’s get right down to the bare bones. What was your worst entrepreneurial moment? Take us there. Tell us that story.
John Ndege: You know, when I was thinking about this, I was – I struggled. You know, when I think about what was my worst moment, because every bad experience is just an opportunity to learn, so I rarely – I actually struggled to think of what my worst entrepreneurial experience, maybe things have been good to me, but then, after thinking about this a little bit more, I can say that my worst entrepreneurial experience, and it still happens, and it will happen in the future, is when I make the same mistake twice, so I try to learn from every mistake I make and adjust the next time I’m in that situation, so every time I see myself making the same mistake twice, that’s always my worst entrepreneurial moment.
John Lee Dumas: Take us to a specific time that you made that mistake and really paint that picture for us.
John Ndege: Yeah. Sure, so I make a big effort to make sure that every dollar we spend in the business has a good return on investments, so I’m thinking if I spend $100.00 on this, I want to make back 150, 200, 300, or more, and there was a time period where I wasn’t watching the numbers as closely as I should and ended up spending a lot of money, thousands and thousands of dollars, on some development cost that didn’t really give a good return on investment, and after analyzing the numbers a little bit, I realized oh my God.
I’ve just wasted a lot of money that I could’ve allocated somewhere else and given me a better return, and that just made me feel sick to my stomach, so I always feel bad when I make the same mistake twice. That’s one I’ve actually made in the past, so hopefully there won’t be a third time.
John Lee Dumas: So, what I really want you, Fire Nation, my lovely listeners to be taking away from this is if you can’t track the results, if you can’t analyze the numbers, you’re running a pretty great risk of really being wasteful, and inefficient, and ineffective with your money, with your resources, with your time, with your effort, with that incredibly valuable resource of bandwidth, so I mean, John, I’d be curious if you agree with me. I mean, do you really harp in your business, now, about tracking the analytics, making sure that what goes in – or let me actually rephrase that. What comes out makes sense for what you put in, effort wise, time wise, money wise.
John Ndege: I think about that every single hour of the day. Am I getting a good return on my investment, and I think, actually, entrepreneurs, they don’t really see themselves as investors. They see themselves more as like as creators, but actually, really what we all are is investors. How do I invest my time, my money, my energy, my ideas into something, and I realize that the greatest entrepreneurs I’ve come across have been the ones that have been very good at appropriating their time into the – and money into the right tasks, so as an entrepreneur, you’re also an investor.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, take some time today, tomorrow, when you have the opportunity, and think, am I analyzing the activities, the inputs, outputs of my business effectively? And if you’re not, your ship might be leaking, and no matter how fast you row, and no matter all these different things you’re putting into it, you don’t want a leaking ship, because that is going to sink, in the end, so let’s create not the titanic, let’s create the USS Midway, which is aircraft career, John, that’s still floating in the San Diego Bay here, right? I can almost see it from my window. That’s really what I want you to think about, Fire Nation.
So, John, take us to another moment in your life, and I really want you to tell us a story. I want you take us there, my friend. Okay? Like, really paint this picture for us of an ah-ha moment you had. Take us to when you had that idea, that epiphany, and then, walk us through the steps you took after having that idea that turned into success.
John Ndege: It kind of links back to something I said earlier, which is around this idea of limiting beliefs, so before I came across – you know it was the foundation that really started to educate me about this, but subsequently, I’ve learned about this on Tony Robins, and countless other – you can say, I guess, gurus out there.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah.
John Ndege: When I was getting started with the foundation, there was a video. Dane Maxwell was in it, and he talks about self limiting beliefs, and I was there just watching the video thinking, hold on. Everything that I want to achieve, everything that’s holding me back, it’s just – it’s all in my head. Again, and again, I just thought success, failure, fear, triumph, it’s just all in my head, and so, I had the ah-ha moment when I was watching that video, sitting here like I’m sitting right now in my living room, and I was thinking to myself, the greatest skill an entrepreneur can have is the ability to control their own psychology, and when I listened to Dane’s words, and he actually quoted Tony Robins here, where he said, “the quality of your life isn’t ever proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.”
John Lee Dumas: Love that quote.
John Ndege: I said, “Huh.” You know, what I need to do is shift my mindset, remove some of these self limiting beliefs that I can’t cold call, I can’t make a sale, or I need to do – have X, Y in place, before I can achieve what I want. That’s all nonsense. It’s all in my head, and so, by remembering that quote, I always – and still to this day, believe that once you’re an entrepreneur and you get comfortable dealing with the uncertainty, then, there’s no limit to how you can grow, and so, that was a really transformational experience. That was my ah-ha moment.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, self limiting beliefs. It’s been a phrase John’s used multiple times during this interview. It’s something that I love talking about on Entrepreneur On Fire, because it permeates our society. It’s everywhere we look; left, right, up, down, in the mirror, and when you look in the mirror and you see self limiting beliefs, that’s when I want you to step back and say, why? Why am I having these self limiting beliefs? Like, let’s actually sit down and talk this through with myself.
Like, let’s figure out why I’m having these self limiting beliefs, so that I can break through this glass ceiling that I have imposed, and you know trying to just not focus on yourself limiting beliefs, that’s just, basically, hiding and ignoring from the truth. Like, don’t go down that road. Expose it. John, I’m pretty sure you’re happy that you exposed yourself limiting beliefs to yourself. Am I right?
John Ndege: Absolutely. I mean the walls have been completely knocked down. Of course, you always got to make sure they don’t rebuild themselves, but I’m constantly making sure that I never limit myself unnecessarily based on what’s going on in my head.
John Lee Dumas: And how do you do that, Fire Nation? How do you make sure that those walls don’t build themselves back up, because the [00:11:05] [inaudible] syndrome is always there trying to build those walls back up. Master minds, mentors, investing in yourself. I have phone conversations every single week with my master mind, Greg Hickman and Rick Mulready, and those guys keep me in check. They can see these walls being built around me, before I can, and they knock them down, and then, likewise, they’re not seeing walls that are building around themselves that I’m trying to shatter, as well, and that’s the power of the master mind.
That’s the power of the community. John, you know the power of the fact that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. When you started spending time watching Dane Maxwell, hanging out with Dane Maxwell and Andy [00:11:41] [inaudible] and other people in the foundation. You start to realize that hey, we can keep these walls down together, and John, we’re moving into what I lovingly refer to as the one minute mindset. This is where I ask you five insights into your mind. I want to see into John’s mind, and take about 60 seconds to answer. No biggie.
I might cut you off, if you go long, my friend, but I might not. Depends. Depends on where you’re going, but ideally, my friend, what do the first 60 minutes of your day look like?
John Ndege: I love this question, because I’m ruthless about this. Absolutely –
John Lee Dumas: Nice.
John Ndege: This is really important, to me, so I start every day, pretty much, exactly the same way Monday to Friday, so I wake up around 6:30 A.M, so for some people, that’s early, for others it’s late. If you have young kids, it’s probably late. I don’t have any young kids, but – so, for me, that actually feels like it’s quite early, and then, for the first 15, 20 minutes, or so, I’ll do a workout, maybe seven minute workout, maybe do that a couple times. Then, I’ll start making some breakfast. Usually –
John Lee Dumas: And let me break in here, for a second, so this is my fault if it goes over 60 minutes, but like during this seven minute workout, like what are a couple things you’re doing?
John Ndege: Oh yeah. Sure. I mean, I’m – it’s one of those popular workouts. I think it’s on the iPhone app, or something like that, where you do like pushups, and sit-ups, and star jumps, and squats, and things like that.
John Lee Dumas: Ok. Cool.
John Ndege: So, I start off by doing some exercise, and then, I read like maybe about four or five pages of a book that I like that I’m enjoying. Maybe I meditate once a week, but the most important thing is what I don’t do. I don’t check email, I don’t watch TV, I don’t put any junk into my head. I just have that first hour, hour and a half, where I’m not thinking about working. I’m just controlling what I want to do for the day, and then, I set out my three most important tasks for the day. I go through some things I’m grateful for, my gratitude journal, and then, I go ahead and start my day on going to work.
John Lee Dumas: I don’t put any junk in my head. Fire Nation, whether you know it, or not, anything that you let come into your periphery in that first 60 minutes is taking up your bandwidth. If you have the news playing in the background and you’re not really paying attention, believe me, you’re subconscious is taking that in, and it’s taking up some of your bandwidth, which is incredibly limited, so guard that. John, what is your biggest weakness, as an entrepreneur?
John Ndege: This is quite an easy one, for me. Trying to do too many things myself and not delegating enough.
John Lee Dumas: What is your biggest strength?
John Ndege: My desire to improve. I always want to make things better and be better.
John Lee Dumas: What is one habit that you wish you had?
John Ndege: When things go wrong in the business, I think I dwell on it for too long, probably, instead of worrying about something for a few minutes, maybe I might worry about it for an hour, so I’d rather not dwell on a mishap for too long.
John Lee Dumas: John, just say duck in water, duck in water. A lot of people don’t know what that means, but I’m from Maine. I lived on a lake. When it rains and a duck’s in water, the rain just – the water just washes right off his back. Right off the back.
John Ndege: Exactly.
John Lee Dumas: What is one thing, John, that just has you fired up right now, above everything else you have going on?
John Ndege: Yeah. Well, in my business, I’m going to speak on a panel in a large industry conference in February, so I’m really fired up about that. I’m excited about it, because I’m actually going to be in the panel of a couple of competitors, which is going to be lots of fun. I’m really fired about that.
John Lee Dumas: Showdown.
John Ndege: Fired up about the questions we’re gonna get, and just talking about the future of the industry.
John Lee Dumas: Very cool, and what is this conference?
John Ndege: Yes. It’s called T3. It’s a technology conference for people in the financial advice industry.
John Lee Dumas: Cool, cool, cool, so John, I’m not gonna let you go, yet, my friend. You’re giving us too much value, too much information, so you’re still on the hook, but before we even get into some more value bomb questions, that lightning round, we’re gonna take a minute to thank our sponsors. John, welcome to the lightning round where you get to share incredible resources and mind blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
John Ndege: [00:16:05] [Inaudible]. I’m enjoying this.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
John Ndege: Nothing. It was all in my head. It was the self limiting beliefs.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
John Ndege: It sounds like repetition, but it’s the honest truth, remove your limiting beliefs.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome. Let’s kind of talk about this, for a second, because it is the theme of this interview, and I think it’s really powerful. Maybe, take a second and get specific about how the foundation really helped you get through these self limiting beliefs.
John Ndege: In my head, there was a script going on where I thought I had to have X, or do Y, to achieve what I wanted, and what I had with this experience with the self limiting beliefs is that, actually, I can achieve anything that I really want to. If someone has done something I want to do, sure, it’s possible for me to do it, as well, and so, just that shift in mindset. The fact that I can do a cold call, you know? I’m trying to help someone. I’m not annoying people. Just even that change, the simple change in mindset really released my – I guess the power that I had within me. I didn’t know how strong I was, until I removed some of those self limiting beliefs.
John Lee Dumas: That little mindset shift, Fire Nation, where you can just say to yourself, it is my obligation to share the value that I have created with others. I am obligated to do that. That shift is so huge. Other than saying, sir, can I have five minutes to talk to you [00:17:36] [inaudible]? Be like, listen. I have this great opportunity for you. If you give me five minutes, I guarantee that you will get value from this conversation, and you know what? If you don’t want to give me five minutes, that’s fine, because I want to find somebody that will. Go in it with that confidence. Go in with it with that attitude that, you know what?
I am obligated to find people that are open and receptive to my message, to my mission, and it’s gonna be such a different ballgame. Do you agree, John?
John Ndege: Uh-hum.
John Lee Dumas: Share one of your personal habits that you believe contributes to your success.
John Ndege: Yeah. Sure, so this is a really critical one, and I want to encourage everyone to – I’m not gonna tell you to do it, but I think it’s pretty – it’s been very important for me, so every month, or so, I send an email to my family, to some friends, as well, and some close business contacts, where I share what’s going on in my business. I talk about revenue, is there any [inaudible]? What’s going on with the free trials, what’s the strategy, and it keeps me really open and honest about my progress, and it stops me from lying to myself, because that’s what entrepreneurs are very good at. They’re very good at lying to themselves, and so, you want to keep yourself honest, have some kind of accountability.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. I love it. You know, that’s why we are big fans of publishing our income reports. You know, it’s not always easy. You know, if we have a month where the refund rates are a little high on podcasters paradise, I’m like – you know, it doesn’t look awesome, but it holds us accountable, it makes us identify what can we do to improve that, the on boarding process, the wow factor, all things that we’ve talked about, so I love that point, John. Do you have an internet resource, like Evernote, that you can share with our listeners?
John Ndege: I am just a huge fan of Google Docs. I put all my goals in there. I check my goals every, probably, every day, at least, and I go through them. I check my box. I turn a box from – that was white to green, if I achieve my goal, and I’m just a big proponent of using Google Docs just to track your end progress. You know, in your life and achieving your goals. That’s my resource. It sounds obvious, but it’s simple, and it works, and it’s a great product.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be, and why?
John Ndege: Sure, so if you want to be an entrepreneur, it only makes sense to read the book of the greatest entrepreneur since the Second World War, which is Sam Walton, Made in America. It’s a very cheap and short book, but you can, essentially, learn from the – I believe, to be the greatest entrepreneur since the Second World War, at least, and he talks about how he built Wal-Mart and it’s a fantastic book. There you see – you see brilliance there. When you read that book, you see what a true amazing next level entrepreneur [00:20:20] [inaudible] really is.
John Lee Dumas: And you also see this, which I thought was a huge takeaway, he was not afraid to stand upon the shoulders of giants. He didn’t recreate the wheels. So many people think that Wal-Mart was this new thing. No, they just did it bigger and better than anybody else, but he took other ideas that were working for other industries, other businesses, competitors, and just amplified them. He just amplified them, and Fire Nation, 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.
John, this next question’s the last of the lightning round, but it’s a doozey. 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 is taken care of, my friends, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
John Ndege: Well, there’s two answers to this, and I’ve really thought about this. First of all, I would definitely try and make some friends, because the world isn’t much fun, if you’re just alone and you don’t know anyone, so one of the things I would do is definitely try and make some friends. Now, on the business side here, what I’ll do is try and spend some time to find out what problems really need to be solved that I think that I can solve and that I’m passionate about, so I’d spend that time researching. You don’t even need the $500.00, unless you want to pay for internet connection, and then, all you have to do is just find problems.
Just find problems. That’s what entrepreneurs – if you look at the greatest most successful entrepreneurs, they solved problems for people that were significant, and as an entrepreneur, generally speaking, I’ve seen this again and again, you get paid in proportion to as big a problem as you solve, and that’s what I think a quote from Elon Musk, and you know he’s doing quite well, because he solved some big problems.
John Lee Dumas: Huge problems. I was just listening to a Tim Ferriss interview with Peter Diamandis, who – and I didn’t actually pronounce his name perfectly, but I’ll get it right, by the time he comes on Entrepreneur On Fire, which I was stoked about locking him on, Mr. space X, himself, and he’s like, you know what? I don’t have much competition in asteroid mining. Nobody else is doing it, so play in the stars, Fire Nation. The competition just is playing way below you, and you might be asking yourselves, well, you know how does John think he’s gonna make friends in this new world?
Well, you just walk around singing, why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? John, cue your laughter. And friends will come, right? So, John, let’s end today on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you, and then, we’ll say goodbye.
John Ndege: Okay, so first of all, connecting with me, you can find me on Twitter at JohnNdege. That’s J-O-H-N-N-D-E-G-E. It’ll probably be in the show notes somewhere there, and one piece of advice, I would say from my entrepreneurial past and history is before you start a company and get involved in it, make sure that you’re really committed, that you’re not just chasing some shiny object, that you’re willing to put the years in to make it successful, because without that kind of drive, you probably won’t achieve what you want.
John Lee Dumas: Love it and Fire Nation, 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 John and John today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Type John in the search bar, his show notes page will pop right up, and John, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation.
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