Ric Lindberg loves technology. Half of him is extremely analytical. He is scientifically minded with the ability to interpret data for change. The other half is focused on interconnectedness. He sees the best in everyone around him and strives to inspire on a person-to-person level.
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3 Key Points:
- Learn to say no. It liberates you to do work that inspires you, and it raises your value in the eyes of your clients.
- Listen to people. It’s amazing what they’ll tell you.
- Make time to reflect – to step back and think about whether you’re doing things in the best possible way.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [02:26] – Ric generates revenue from consulting
- [02:39] – Ric gets most of his clients from referrals
- [03:15] – He charges on an hourly basis, but is looking at expanding into courses and podcasts
- [04:00] – Results-based vs. hourly rates
- [05:53] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Saying ‘yes’ to everything when he started his business…and burning out
- [08:26] – Being burned out by work is a downward spiral
- [09:36] – “Once I started saying ‘no’, a lot shifted”
- [10:27] – Saying ‘no’ actually makes people value your work more highly
- [12:02] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Transforming a company by being courageous enough to push for change
- [14:08] – Biggest weakness? – “I get very attached to my vision of how I want things to be”
- [14:46] – Biggest strength? – “I’m a great listener. I like inviting people to speak by being silent”
- [15:08] – What has Ric most fired up today? “I just finished Seth Godin’s course – the people I’m working with have been amazing. I love your Freedom Journal as well.”
- [16:25] – As entrepreneurs we need to ship something – it doesn’t have to be perfect, but we need to start
- [17:56] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Fear. I was longing for a guarantee”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Think 80/20 in most things you do”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “My curiosity about other people”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Slack
- If you could recommend one business book for our listeners, what would it be and why? – How To Win Friends and Influence People
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “Maybe they’re all new like me. I would become a networker”
- [23:19] – Connect with Ric through his website
- [23:49] – Parting guidance: “Reflect. Take time to step back and think about whether you’re serving other people and yourself in the best way you can”
JLD: Ric loves technology. Half of him is extremely analytical. He is scientifically-minded with the ability to interpret data for change. The other half is focused on interconnectedness. He sees the best in everyone around him and strives to inspire on a person to person level. Ric, take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life?
Ric Lindberg: Sure. When I was young, I kind of hid behind books and computers because they were so much simpler than humans. It was more fun to help save friends from monsters and tweak computers to max effect. But now, I kind of help leaders decode their leadership and using advanced analytics to transform insight into action because exactly as you said, John, it’s all about taking action.
JLD: So, let’s kind of shift a little bit into your personal life, like what’s going on in your world? Where are you from? What’s going on in that world?
Ric Lindberg: I’m from Stockholm, Sweden, currently the proud dad of a half-year-old daughter named Saga.
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s a life-changing thing. I’m learning so much about self-leadership by that young one. In my business, I’m consulting, helping advanced analytics move forward business-wise and helping as a mentor of managers, helping people transform their life.
JLD: Well, on that note, Ric, we’re really big on creating viable businesses as entrepreneurs. I mean, Fire Nation, we’re looking to build businesses that we can be proud of, but that also generate revenue because we’ve got bills to pay, let’s be honest. So, how do you, today, generate revenue in your business?
Ric Lindberg: I’m consulting within the business intelligence and mentoring leadership space.
JLD: How have you found the best ways to actually find clients to consult?
Ric Lindberg: Providing results. It’s always about results and keeping people happy.
JLD: So, you’re saying that by providing results, you’re getting referrals from your current clients?
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, exactly.
JLD: So, how did you get those initial clients?
Ric Lindberg: I’ve been in this affair for 20 years, so it was a time ago that I did that. They keep adding up. But I think it is being humble and helping people see how their future could transform, what they could have.
JLD: Now, do you charge on an hourly basis or on a results-oriented basis?
Ric Lindberg: I charge on an hourly basis, but I’m working to change that.
JLD: Now, what are you looking to change that to?
Ric Lindberg: I want to go more online to help people while I sleep, primarily with podcasting and stuff like that, so helping people for free because I really believe in the power of free. But also, some people can level up independent, so I’m not a bottleneck and my hours aren’t bottleneck because right now with what I do, that’s what I feel. I only have so many hours I want to work every week.
JLD: So, right now, you’re working hourly and you’re thinking about, or you are in the process of taking things online to become more leveraged, to be more scalable, etc. Have you ever considered working for clients not necessarily on an hourly basis, but on a results-oriented basis meaning like, “Hey, instead of charging you by the hour or by the project or whatever, I’m actually just going to take a percentage of what the results I bring into your happens.” Has that ever crossed your mind?
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, for sure, and I’ve had that discussion with a lot of clients, but it’s hard to – and the benefits of it, you share the risk with your clients. If you’re not getting the results you promised, you’re not getting paid. The thing is that most of the clients I’ve been working with, they want the safe buy when it’s hard to convince their manager in that approach when hiring services. It’s so much easier to just do what everyone else is doing.
JLD: I definitely get that on a lot of levels. It’s just one thing that I can see from a business owner myself is I would love having somebody working for me, like as an independent contractor, etc., whose compensation was tied to the results because then their motivation is 100 percent to maximize the results. So to me, that seems like a win-win in a lot of areas.
So, Fire Nation, maybe if you’re in a situation like Ric and you’re just tied to the hourly, maybe these are some conversations you could start to have because maybe your clients are little more entrepreneurial than Ric’s and they’re a little more stand-alone and maybe they are decision makers and you could say, “Hey, listen, instead of me charging you for 10 hours of work for your book launch, how about I get 5 percent of the revenue generated from your book launch,” you instead insert any project there that might work. Just some food for thought, Fire Nation, because again, we’re trying to come up with ways that you can get off of that trading time for dollars type thing and be waking up with dollars in the bank account type thing.
Now, Ric, I do want to shift to a story that you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur and that story being what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. So, take us to that moment in time, Ric, and tell us that story.
Ric Lindberg: It was when I started my company. I was helplessly controlled by my own people-pleaser habits. I was serving the clients, everyone was very, very happy, but I was so bad at saying ‘no’ to things. I ended up working so many hours and not getting paid, but also not doing the best of the job because I always trying to help so much. I never had time to really focus on doing the work that really mattered. People were happy, but once again, it’s all about results and when we tried to please everyone, it’s really hard to focus on the one thing that makes a huge impact.
JLD: Okay, so those are moments. That not a moment in time. I want you to take me, Ric, to the moment that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment. I want to be there with you when you are literally like putting your head through your computer. I mean, what was that moment?
Ric Lindberg: It was maybe 10 years ago and I remember from seeing photos when I was blue-eyed and always tired, always saying, “Sure, I’ll help. I’ll do that. I’ll get it done to you by Friday,” and it was so taxing and the thing was, I was getting a lot of compliments and people saying ‘thank you’ on a very low level, but in reality, I never really connected to what really made a difference for them. I just kept running, and running, and running. So, I just drained myself. In the end, I ended up not doing the best job I could for my clients without realizing it. Then I started feeling more guilty because I knew I wasn’t keeping up with my promised and that’s not good for business.
So, I ended up working for free for lunches for people, helping them solve their problems instead of realizing I’m really digging myself in a big hole here just trying to help, help, help, instead of seeing it from an assumed out perspective and helping them realize what is really important for them. Get the insights and power to change what really matters.
JLD: Fire Nation, what kind of life are you creating for yourself? I mean, are you creating the type of life where you’re just over committing, where you’re headed towards burnout, where you’re waking up every morning feeling guilty not putting forth your best work because you’ve just said ‘yes’ to too much, you’ve taken on too much and maybe you’re not that passionate or skilled at the area you’re going in because you’re just been drifting along? Or, are you taking a step back and saying, “Hey, I know I’m working hard, but every day, at the very least once a week, I’m gonna take a step back. I’m gonna give myself some space and I’m gonna make sure that the path I’m heading down, the path that I’m moving forward on is the right path. It feels right to me and that’s growing a business that I want to be a part of.”
I mean, we all have bills to pay so we all have responsibilities and we have to do those things, but don’t over-heap those things on your platter, Fire Nation, to get buried and go into that downward spiral that Ric found himself in: over-worked, tired, not producing good quality work, guilty because of it, and so on and so forth. That is a downward spiral.
So, Ric, that’s my big take-away from that struggling area in life that you were going through during the 10 year, or 10 years ago, I should say. What do you want to make sure that Fire Nation gets from your story?
Ric Lindberg: Once I really started to say ‘no’ and explaining why, of course, I said ‘no’ and what I wanted to focus on, a lot shifted. Of course, you get some initial attention and resistance when you say ‘no’ to things.
JLD: Because you’d never said it before. They were like, “What do you mean?”
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, exactly.
JLD: “I’ve never heard you say no before, Ric.”
Ric Lindberg: Exactly, but suddenly I started to get a lot more appreciation for the work I did. Suddenly, people didn’t take me for granted because I’ve always been there for them. In the beginning, for me, that felt so contradictory because in my heart I felt bad for saying no, but now I know that’s what you need to do to really provide the best service for those issues to serve. You can’t help everyone because you’re just spreading yourself too thin to really do the work that matters.
JLD: Fire Nation, I challenge you to start saying ‘no.’ It is such a freely feeling to just look somebody in the face and say, “Listen, I like you as a client,” or “I love you as a person,” or “I want to do this for you, but the answer is an absolute no.” Like, “This is not going to be part of work that I do.” And be clear, don’t be like, “Well, no, I can’t do that now, but like, you know.” Don’t be shifty, just look at them and say, “No. The answer to this is no.”
It is such a freeing feeling and now you can No. 1, like Ric said, I love how you put that, Ric, you started to now get respect for saying ‘no.’ You actually started to have a more perceived value on your work because you were saying no. All of these things were spiraling now upwards instead of downwards, Fire Nation, because of one single word, ‘no.’ So, say ‘no,’ use that word. It is a very freeing word and start saying ‘yes’ only to things that are bringing you up, not bringing you down.
Now, I do want to share shift, Ric, and I want you to tell another story, and just like I did for the worst moment, I’m gonna drag you back to the moment, if you try to get vague on me. Take us to an ‘aha!’ moment that you’ve had, to one of your greatest epiphanies to date and tell us that story. What did that look like?
Ric Lindberg: That was it, really. Being so exhausted trying to help everyone and always running, running, running and starting to say ‘no.’
JLD: So, that was a great ‘aha!’ moment, but we just talked about that. So, I’m gonna shift. You’ve had a lot of ‘aha!’ moments. Take us to another great ‘aha!’ moment that you’ve had and tell us that story.
Ric Lindberg: Just serving the clients isn’t enough. I get asked often to help deliver tools or software or just a thing, but what really matters is the transformation it can bring. So, I work a lot in business intelligence and everyone wants the new cool tool or the dashboard or the new graph, and then they think the journey ends there, but the journey actually ends when you have to leadership. Because if you have a graph saying you have a new customer over there, then you actually have to have people go get that. If you have a graph saying you’re dropping your customers here, or your number of dollars is going down, you’re bleeding basically.
JLD: So, Ric, tell us a story. Take us to a moment when you actually helped a client do just that because of your understanding of that epiphany.
Ric Lindberg: I remember I had a client who built a system around a certain mindset for how things were used and then when we dig down into the data, we saw that the reality was totally the opposite. And then of course, I got a lot of resistance from the organization saying, “Well, we just invested millions of dollars into building this system leaning to the left. What you’re showing us with the data is that we should be leaning to the right and that’s not working.”
But when you take the leadership time to actually drive into the inside that you have to do things differently, then the business totally transforms. And having to face that tension and being courageous to stand still there just pushing for it, before everyone else is realizing this has to happen, that takes a bit of courage and you’re not getting people thanking you for it. But once you’re over the hurdle, then you get a lot of thank yous for it.
JLD: Ric, what’s your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Ric Lindberg: Sometimes I get very attached to the vision or how things can be and I have to be humble and show vulnerability for it, that change is hard. Quite often, I’m of the mindset that everything’s easy if you just start in the right way and that can come across to people as a bit of arrogance and I’m sorry to say that. So, I really have to focus on talking to people on the level they are right now before talking about the vision of how things can be.
JLD: What’s your biggest strength?
Ric Lindberg: I’m a great listener. I like being silent and inspire trust in people by just listening and boosting their potential, helping them take action and there to embrace things, what they can become.
JLD: It’s kinda funny how people start talking when you start listening, isn’t it?
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, it is.
JLD: I love that. So, Ric, what is one thing that has you more fired up today than anything else?
Ric Lindberg: I just ended Seth Godin’s course, altmba.com, and the people I’ve been working with are so pumped up in starting to ship things. So, of course, myself, I’m also starting to ship, the mindset of shipping. Right now I’m wielding a daily actionable tape, newsletter, or something to put on the phone in accomplishing more every day. I’m also being very inspired by your Freedom Journal and –
JLD: Thank you, Ric.
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, it’s amazing. The Freedom Journal is amazing that it helps me see my self-leadership and become aware of my path and what I’m doing. I want to do something similar to help in the newsletter format or put it on the lock screen on the phone or something, just to bump into people’s awareness that I really need to do the heavy-lifting so I can accomplish more.
JLD: Well, I love your talk about shipping. It is so important and that’s why Seth Godin is so valuable to listen to and to read on so many levels because it all comes back to that theme. We, as entrepreneurs, need to ship and no we don’t need to ship the perfect product, we need to ship a product, get feedback, pivot, ship, get feedback, pivot, ship. That’s how we build something that matters, Fire Nation.
And I love your kind words about the Freedom Journal, Ric, but I got some great feedback about the Freedom Journal and we’re printing 20,000 more copies as we speak, Edition 2, and it’s going to be even better than Edition 1 because of the feedback that we got. So, it never stops. You get the feedback, you pivot, you ship, and you just keep doing that, iterating and improving. So, all of these things, Fire Nation, critical.
Now, as you can tell, Ric is gonna be dropping some value bombs in the lightning round, so don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna take a quick minute to thank your sponsors. Ric, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Ric Lindberg: I sure am.
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Ric Lindberg: I would say fear. I was so longing for a safety net, longing for a guarantee that going all over as an entrepreneur would work. I’m not still fully recovered from that fear. I am a freelancer. I’m a contractor, as we said earlier. I’m not like you, full entrepreneur that’s built this enterprise that is moving while I’m sleeping, but I’m working hard to get there, figuring out how to take the steps to become a real entrepreneur.
JLD: Well, I got a secret for you, Ric, and for you as well, Fire Nation. The fear never goes away. It never goes away and that’s not a bad thing because that keeps us on our toes. That makes us realize that, you know what, all the magic happens outside of our comfort zone, so it’s okay that we’re outside of our comfort zone. Now, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Ric Lindberg: I think it was from you and from Tim Ferriss. When I heard it, when I actually started to take it on, but I think I’ve seen it for all my life and that is ‘think 80/20 in most things you do.’ What’s 20 percent of anything gives you the 80 percent of the effect you want, or what 20 percent is stealing the 80 percent of the effect you want. The thing is, I’ve seen it so many times, but I think it was when you and Tim Ferriss was starting to talk to it, it sank in that this is so important. You really have to say ‘no’ to some clients. You can’t please everyone.
JLD: Fire Nation, all we have is time. All we have is limited bandwidth, limited energy. Why are we gonna spend 80 percent of that on something that really doesn’t move the needle that much anyways? Why not just focus all of that on the 20 percent that really makes a difference and drive forward? Now, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success, Ric?
Ric Lindberg: My curiosity of other people. I help other people open up into being curious about themselves. To be genuinely and willing to help and that’s helped me build so many relationships over the years.
JLD: Can you share an internet resource like Evernote with Fire Nation?
Ric Lindberg: Slack.com. That’s great for discussions and you kind of use it like email, and you can scale that up to premium service if you want. I also want to recommend blinkist.com. That’s a book summary service. You get one free summary a day, which in my mind is really, really good because that opens up – you read stuff you wouldn’t normally do in a few minutes and you can get premium there as well if you want, but you don’t have to.
JLD: Blinkist.com, Fire Nation. If you could recommend just one book, Ric, for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Ric Lindberg: Work-wise, it would be How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I think you can get that on Audible, so that’s great that we have you. Relaxing-wise, it would be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
JLD: Ready Player One, it’s so funny you say that. I was out to dinner with Pat Flynn the other week. I said, “Dude, what do you do to relax?” He’s like, “Well, I read some fiction books and I’m reading Ready Player One right now.” It has been years since I’ve been so into a book that I can’t put it done.
Ric Lindberg: Yeah, it’s really good.
JLD: That book did it for me. I couldn’t put it down. I’m like, oh my god, I want to cancel all my interviews today and I just want to read this book. Ready Player One, Fire Nation. If you read that and you enjoy it, which I’m sure 90 percent of you will, shoot me an email because I love hearing about people loving that book because to me it was so fascinating.
Ric, this is the last question of lightning round, but it is a doozy. 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, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next 7 days?
Ric Lindberg: First, I’d figure out if it was just me being new on this planet or if everyone. And if it is everyone, I would take the initiative to be the networker that helps other people meet each other. It’s a strange game when everyone is new and I’d be very mindful that those that connect the first week is usually not the same people that make business forever. I would use those $500.00 to invest in food and giveaways, knowledge seminars, or anything to get people to show up at these networking events. The laptop, I’d be playing cooperative computer games just for fun. That’s also a great way to connect with other people.
JLD: Well, that’s a very fascinating way to look at this question, for sure. Fire Nation, see that mindset shift. For over 1,300 episodes, everybody’s been answering that question in a very specific way, just assuming that everybody else in the world was already there, but I never said that, and Ric said, “Hey, maybe they’re all new like me. Let me be the leader.”
Now Ric, I do want to end on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Ric Lindberg: The best way to reach me is RicLindberg.com or I’m not really using Twitter, but you can find me @RicLindberg there as well, or try listening to my podcast that’s RelationshipPower.com or you can find it on your phone by searching for Relationship Power at Work, or you could try, if you’re into computer games, you can try finding my podcast Analytic Gamer, where we combine leadership and computer games.
JLD: What’s a parting piece of guidance?
Ric Lindberg: Reflect, like with your Freedom Journal. Do things and then look back. What worked and what didn’t? Don’t just work, work, work. Serve people, help other people become successful, but also take a step back every now and then and say, “Am I serving the right kind of people in the best way possible and am I serving myself?” It’s like when you’re on the airplane, you have to take on the gas mask on yourself first before you start helping other people.
JLD: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hanging out with RL and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com, just type “Ric” in the search bar, that’s R-I-C, and his show on the page will pop up with everything that we’ve talked about today. Of course, RicLindberg.com, and check out his podcast Relationship Power podcast. I just want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Ric Lindberg: Thank you very much, John.
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