When it comes to life's unpredictable journey, none hit closer to home than Jeff Russell's inspiring odyssey towards financial freedom. Born into an army family and embodying the essence of hustle from a young age, Jeff carved out a path less traveled - from being a college pioneer in his family to becoming an accomplished DJ in the Bahamas. His eclectic experiences led him to a fulfilling career in computer science and ultimately, the entrepreneurial world. His tale showcases the courage to defy norms, adapt to changes, and seize opportunities, even in the face of unexpected layoffs.
Jeff generously shares his remarkable insights on navigating the entrepreneurial landscape with finesse. He emphasizes the significance of maintaining focus and ensuring healthy profit margins in the intricate dance of business. He also sheds light on the transformative effect of Parkinson's Law in enhancing productivity and achieving a balanced work-life rhythm. Listen to Jeff, as he reveals his strategic communication approach with clients, shedding light on how transparency can become a unique selling proposition in today's business world.
We also journey into Jeff's latest literary contribution, 'Fire Yourself First'. The book encapsulates Jeff's four-step method to achieving financial autonomy and his invaluable insights from an 11-step hiring process. He further reveals the power of Artificial Intelligence in augmenting business productivity and introduces us to his decision-making acronym. Tune in to grasp the essence of Jeff's journey towards financial independence, a testament that freedom is not just a day but a way of life.
About the Guest:
Jeff Russell is the founder of the Oakridge Financial Group, Oakridge Financial Investments, IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine), Glenmore Healthcare, and Clean Start Weight Loss®.
As a successful serial entrepreneur, Jeff teaches entrepreneurs how to unchain themselves from the daily grind by creating a business that runs without them. His latest book, Fire Yourself First, provides a four-step plan to free up time and allow business owners to do what they love next.
Jeff has taken his secret sauce on how to analyze, systemize, and scale businesses, and packaged it in, Fire Yourself First, providing all his strategies and tips, so business owners can unchain themselves from the daily grind.
Over the last 20 years, Jeff has taught thousands of people how to start their own businesses. His book, Clean Start Weight Loss®, has sold tens of thousands of copies.
Fast Five Questions
Jeff spent the early part of his career working for others. Jeff had started 5 businesses that failed before he had his first success. Since that time he has learned the principles of a successful business and has been able to build and grow multiple seven-figure businesses. Jeff lives in the Austin area and is actively working in his community and supporting the growth of small businesses. He is a board member of the Incubator.Edu program at Vista Ridge High School and is on the board of directors of the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation
Connect with the Freedom Nation podcast at https://freedom-nation-podcast.captivate.fm/
Connect with Jeff:
Thanks for listening!
Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.
Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below!
Subscribe to the podcast
If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
Leave us an Apple Podcasts review
Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts.
FN Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Freedom Nation podcast with Jeff Kikel. On this show, Jeff shares his expertise in financial and retirement planning from a different perspective. Planning for Your Freedom Day, which is the first day that you wake up and have enough income or assets and do not have to go to work that day. Learn how to calculate what you need, how to generate income sources, and listen to interviews from others who've done it themselves. Get ready to experience your own Freedom Day.Jeff Kikel:
Hello, Freedom Nation. It's Jeff here once again with another episode of The Freedom nation podcast. And on today's episode, we're going to talk to Jeff Russell, who has an amazing Freedom Day story to tell. Jeff, welcome to the show, my friend.Jeff Russell:
Thank you, Jeff. It's easy. Yeah, exactly.Jeff Kikel:
Well, you have such an awesome story. We went through it in the pre show and really can't wait for you to tell it. So why don't we start off? Tell us your story. How did you get to where you are today?Jeff Russell:
Yeah, great question. And I love talking about it. Because I didn't grow up with money. And I didn't grow up in an entrepreneurial family. So I knew nothing about owning starting a business. I knew nothing about being an entrepreneur. My dad was in the army. So we moved from base to base every two to three years. So I was like, more like a little gypsy. But I also learned to hustle. And so I learned to paint fences, do lawns, do all that stuff. So I always kind of was, I wasn't afraid to work. And I think that's one thing I did get from my dad was he had a good workout there. Right? He is here to serve your country, serve others. And so I really kept that. And I was the first in my family to go to college. So he says that's what you're supposed to do. Right? You're supposed to grind it out. And my parents had $3,000 that didn't get you very far. So I had to get a lot of scholarships, kind of get through there. I did what came easy to me because I'm kind of lazy that way. And that was actually computer science. I actually started in pre law. And so I got into law school when I was going to do that. And I was sitting in law library. So I'm like, Yeah, I cannot do this. This is not my thing. So I promptly dropped out. And like, you know, every college dropout, I'm like, okay, maybe I need a break. So I decided I would drop out and become a DJ for Club Med in the Bahamas. So every parent's dream, like what is your son do? He's a DJ.Jeff Kikel:
He was gonna be a lawyer, but now he's a DJ in the Bahamas. There we go.Jeff Russell:
Yeah, so. And once I did that for about a year, I decided, okay, you know, what I need to do is go back to what was easy to me. And one of the things about that moving around every three years, is we there was no computers, no computer games, there was nothing like that. So my dad was luckily fascinated with computers. And he bought at RadioShack, one of these trs 80s, like, probably Wow, away from Dr. van with. And so, growing up if I wanted to play a video game, I had to make it myself. So I was coding and creating games when I was, you know, like eight 910 years old in the early 80s. Right? So this isn't like today, there's way much more. There's training, I was self taught. So from that I'm like, Well, you know, computer programming is easy. So I decided to do that, you know, then went back on my degree in computer science. So now my parents are back proud of me. And then as well, I got offered a couple of jobs, IBM and Xerox and, and at the time, those were two big huge companies. They were probably the biggest in America. And that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to get a job with a fortune 10 company if you could. And so I did. I chose Xerox because Xerox is where the mouse was invented, where GUI interfaces were invented. So at the time, since like, late 80s, early 90s Xerox was they were had a great tech Park in California and created a lot of cool stuff. And so I'm like, Yeah, I mean to that. What I realized was after about three four years I get bored very slowly. And I like to do my own thing and so one thing about corporate America is doing your own thing is not really encourage behavior not just like no we got politics we got platter you can't make your boss look bad, because so you can really come up with new ideas. So but I was pretty smart guy. So after that, I went to work for Fairmont Hotels, I was there for many years, and then a big finance company Allianz and we own On the Fireman's Fund, we manage $3 trillion worth of assets. So through there, I was kind of learning the skills of systems and procedures, which I didn't realize would come in very handy. When I started my own business did that. And one of those last times I was I was always laid off, no one ever fired me, because I was a good worker, I did what I needed to do. So the last one, they gave me a year salary to go away. And they gave me some career counseling. So you know how to make your resume better. Those did those Myers Brigg tasks and psychological tests. And then my adviser came back, I said, Jeff, you know what, you actually shouldn't work for anyone else, you should start your own business. I'm like, Oh, okay. Maybe that's why I'm pretty much unemployable.Jeff Kikel:
Is what am I is one of my friends puts it, she's genetically unemployable.Jeff Russell:
Absolutely, I didn't know it at the time. So there was no golden watch opportunity for me, I would Yeah, kinda just kind of exit out of there. And but I told him, I don't know anything about starting a business. That's nothing I doubt. And he goes, there's two ways to do this. You either go franchise, where you do like a business opportunity. And in both of those, they'll show you how to do the business. So I'm like, great, Sign me up. And so I decided that I because I came from finance as well, I, I liked equipment, leasing business, and I so I decided I would do that. So I went to St. Louis, and then learned how to be a leasing broker. They taught me everything. And then as I'm kind of looking for customers, and um, they said, You got to make 100 calls a day, I'm like, Fine, I do it. Like, I'm a very simple guy, you tell me exactly what I need to do to be successful. And I'll do it. I have no, you know, I will pick up the garbage off the floor, I'll do anything. There's nothing beneath me. So and I think, again, work ethic from my father, being in the military, you do what you're told, or what you see needs to be done without hesitation. So started doing that. I didn't make any money for six months, like not a penny. And luckily, I had that one year salary. Salary, though. Hurting, right, but I'm like, something's gotta give. And then boom, I did this one deal. And I made $10,000. Michael, this is pretty good. Just 20 years ago, so 10 grand, I was a good amount of money. And it was a lot of work, though. I'm like, Oh, okay. But you know what I committed, I'm going to do it. Then I did another deal. And it was a piece of medical equipment for a doctor. Now. Then I realized, okay, when I finance a doctor, he signs his name. And the deals done in two hours, by sign an entrepreneurial business owner like me, it's 14 years of tax returns. You gotta name a child's bank,Jeff Kikel:
Give half Yeah, at least three pints of blood. I mean, everything. AndJeff Russell:
So this is what I first and I probably always did this follow the money, right? And follow the easy money. There. You can earn $1.02 Completely different ways. And you still end up with $1. Right? And so I'm like, okay, one is 10 hours on my work was 30 minutes or work, but I still have the same dollar. I'm doing that. And it wasn't $1 was $10,000. So I'm like,Jeff Kikel:
Okay, why? Time spent by that same amount of dollars. And it's a big difference.Jeff Russell:
Absolutely. And so I focus on medical equipment. So I became a medical equipment leasing company. And so what got interesting was I started doing a lot of cosmetic lasers, tattoo removal, lasers, hair removal lasers. And again, this both 1718 years ago, so was early on, I actually ended up finding seeing the first medical spa in America and Manhattan for a dermatologist. And he's like, Yeah, I'm opening up this Med Spa, my car. Okay, that's kind of cool. I have no idea what that means. But he had itJeff Kikel:
So let's talk about it.Jeff Russell:
Exactly right is easy to do. And so I got known as the medical cosmetic, you know, equipment guy. And there you go. And then people would buy these lasers, and they're like, doctors were coming to me like, What do I do now? Like, okay, well, you bring in patients and use them. It's not simple. And they would say, Well, do you know someone who's done this? So I'd say, Well, I helped this doctor in Salt Lake or Newport Beach or Manhattan, go talk to them. And so I didn't see that as, as a business. I thought it was just a value add. I was there to help. You just connected them. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It was simple. But then the doctors will come back to me that I was sending them to and saying, Hey, stop sending these people. I'm too busy doing stuff and I'm like, oh, okay, so you're too busy doing stuff. So why don't we go visit you all in interview you and create a training program for you. So in that same realm of following the money, we created a training program for these physicians. And it was around 2006, we started that started small was doing well. And it was almost par with the financing revenue. So I had the two businesses, one was medical training, and one was the financing. And 2008 hit. And, and those of us who've lived through 2008, we all know what happened, all the money dried up. So banks weren't lending, my biggest financing bank was General Electric, GE Healthcare, a whole they had a billion dollars that they would give that just boom got. And so all of a sudden, my financing business, the money turned off, but I had this medical training, which was going strong as ever. And so then I accidentally discovered, oh, there's this thing called diversification, it's good to kind of spread your, your wealth around just like you would in your investment portfolio. You don't have everything in bonds or anything in stocks, right, you have a mixture. And and so I discovered that so by following the money, right, is kind of how this thread one went. And then I opened up a medical practice with a part of physician partner of mine. So that was my third business, then COVID hit, and that wiped out my training business, right? So I'm like, Okay, we cannot do training anymore, right? Because you're not allowed to travel. And you, you there was vaccination requirements and all this different stuff. I'm like, Okay, what are we going to do? While Luckily, I was very much a content guy. So and this is one of my tips, always look at your internal processes, your internal data, like, what information do you have? So we took it all and created online courses. And within probably 64 days, we were making more money than we were with our live training. And it continues to double the live training revenue. And we've been doing it Yeah, you know, for a couple of years.Jeff Kikel:
I think a lot of companies realize that. Yeah. So because beforeJeff Russell:
We tried online training before COVID, no one wanted to do it. But everyone got acclimatized to doing it and like, well, I'll do it. So it's actually worked out really well. Yeah. So that's kind of and it was during COVID. I went to my accountant, I'm like, Okay, what am I going to do? My business was just wiped out. Like, I cannot do training. I can't bring anyone in. Not going to do this. I'm like me, he goes, what are you worried about? I'm like, well, because I gotta grind it. Right? That's what I do. I'm wired to to get to move forward. He goes, You have enough money, you don't have to work a day in your life. I'm like, Oh, I'm like, Okay, that's good to know. So, and I'll tell you that that red leaf, aha, like it took the pressure off. And boy did I start to think clearly. So now all of a sudden, when you're under it, sometimes you can think very clearly and strategically, quickly, but it drains you. But when you have this big weight, that you know what, you hit your freedom day, my now what I'm doing is optional. It's what I want to do, what I enjoy doing. And then three years ago, I decided I'm going to work 10 days a month, because I said, You know what, I'm young guy, I'm 52 at the time, I, you know, I I got a lot of laughter and make and I like helping people and doing stuff doesn't have to be for money, right? You know, it's just whatever is enjoyable. And so that's when I really started, I went from 30 days, I'm on to 20 days a month, 15 days, I'm out to 10 days. And next year, my hope is to get down to five days a month nice of doing this, I can't stop because I like to help people and create. And so I turned my businesses and ATMs they generate money, whether I'm there or not. And one of the benefits to that I discovered kind of by accident was it increased the valuation of my business. Because a business that doesn't require the owner is much more valuable than a business that does require the owner.Jeff Kikel:
Yeah, no, I think that's amazing. And you know, I think your story, I hope for the half of our audience that listens that are business owners. I hope you got what Jeff was talking about there. You know, not only did he go along, you know, so many people stay with this one thing that they do, and they're really good at it, and they're really successful. And then something happens like COVID, something happens like 2008 and it blows them up. And Jeff was smart enough to say, All right, well, let's try this. Let's try that. Let's try some of these other areas. is not necessarily thinking that he was going to make that much money at it. And that I mean, effectively that became your business as a result of it.Jeff Russell:
Yeah, no, I always try and focus on number one is to help people and provide value. So if I can't do that, the money doesn't come. So it's not money. First, it's providing value. Second, though, is if I'm going to do something, I need to have at least a 50% profit margin. Because what I learned very early on the margins are what allow you to sleep at night, in many of my business, they're actually closer to 85%. Right? So that means things can go wrong. And I'm not losing sleep, like COVID. Right, I could have gone years with the money in the bank. But, you know, we pivoted and didn't have to do that. But I never liked to be beaten by someone else. I like to always be the decision maker of when I'm going to be done. And so just and I think many entrepreneurs are like this, we have a spark that Yeah, you think I'm down now I'm not down. And then we start thinking outside of the box. And that's where the interesting ideas come from. Yeah.Jeff Kikel:
And I think that's, that's the point that you have to work towards. I don't think that's something that people it's a natural thing for most people to be able to do that. It's it's something that takes repetition of okay, well, so I can do that. But what if I do this? What if I do this? What if I do this and keep trying and keep thinking of different ways and being creative? That's, I think, the talent that that we develop as an entrepreneur.Jeff Russell:
Absolutely. And you it's those filters that you have to always live by. So it's like, do I do this? Does it get to me where the endgame is? And for me, the End Games, not any one of my businesses. It's the big end game, right? So for me, I just find that filtering allows me to stay more focused, and make the right decisions. And you know, I say work 10 days a month, I work as much in 10 days a month as I did when I was 30 days a month. But I'm extremely focused now. Yes, like, it's almost like you know, that Friday before and you go on your family vacation to Disney, you're, you're getting stuff down, you're answering the you know, getting everything off your plate so you can enjoy your vacation. While that's what it's like, every day, I work my 10 days. So I find there's no distractions, I know that I have not worked like today's my last day. So that's it. So I've got everything I said be wrapped up today, because there's no tomorrow, it has to wait till next month. And so it just that forces you to kind of get to your Freedom Day faster.Jeff Kikel:
Yeah, well, but I mean, it also helps you to I mean, it's Parkinson's Law, the amount of the gravity of a situation is completely related to the time that you a lot to it. So if you give yourself 80 hours a week, you're gonna take 80 hours a week to get projects done. If you give yourself 10 hours a month, or 10 days a month, you're gonna get that all that stuff done in 10 days a month, if you're honest with yourself. I know a lot of entrepreneurs will go, oh, well, I'm on the I love what Jeff saying, and I'm going to work 10 hour or 10 days a month. But you know, if I don't get stuff done, then I'll, you know, I can still work at home or I can still do it. Now, you've got to do that. And I that was one of the things I know for me, as I sold my primary interest in a business last year. And it was my freedom day. And I started to look at things and I look at things differently today. I not only look at what new thing I'm bringing into my life, is it going to generate revenue? Yes, that's important. But I also now and I think you're kind of the same way. I also came to the realization is, is this going to require a lot of Jeff's time to do that. And if it requires a lot of Jeff's time, in either Jeff here, it's it's not going to happen. You know, and I, I haven't gotten to the 10 days a month, but I work for eight weeks. And that's it. You know, I take most Friday's off, if anything, I go into the office for the morning and goof off for you know, half the day and then go home, because my wife's got to be there. But that's for me, you know, I went from working 7080 hour workweeks down to like 30. And I make double the amount of money I used to make at this point.Jeff Russell:
Absolutely is so true. And I'll just warn you, it's gonna be difficult because you know what, Friday at three o'clock, your biggest client has time available for you? Yeah, and so one thing that I'm very upfront with all my team and my customers, this is a selling point, actually, I tell people look, I only work 10 days a month. So if you need to get a hold of me, it's going to be very difficult. Like there is a billionaire who is trying to we're trying to connect something for the last two weeks and he wanted to do 5pm On a Monday. And I'm like, You know what, I don't work. When I do work. I don't work past three Rick, because I'm not at my best. So as one thing I've learned, I work out my best in the morning. And I try and wrap up anything by noon. I don't like to do anything in the afternoon. And I just as EAA today, you know, had by EA talked to his EA saying, Yep, can't do it. So now we're booking like third week into November. And this guy's got big money. He's a game changer. But he respects it actually goes, yep, Jeff doesn't have time. It's fine with me, like, this is how he's living. So and my staff know it too. So they know, you don't send me an email on Friday afternoon, expect any type of response whatsoever, right. And they know when I'm working. But what I do do and those downtimes, I create a massive amount of value. And some of it is charity, where some of its like opportunities. I had lunch with this guy a few weeks ago. And it turned into I got in an early in apartment building investment, right before went to the public. So it's just like, oh, yeah, I'm doing this conversion and all that we're going to need. Yeah. Because there's, you want that first round of money. Right? That's where you want to be. And that's the other thing I've learned. There's different categories of first and second, and fifth, and most people are fifth in you've already missed the money making. You've missed the good stuff at that point. And yeah, and I but I, if I was grinding it, in the old days, I'd be looking, oh, it's two o'clock. I miss lunch, like you just worked through lunch, right? Where it was great to have that day off set at the golf clubs, chat. Nothing, no agendas on either of us. But it was like, you know, I'm looking to bulk up my real estate investment portfolio, my family office, he has a deal. This could work really well it fits my parameters. And so there's opportunities that you know, you're looking for that come to you. So it's really weird.Jeff Kikel:
Yeah, totally understand that. What's new in your world? What, what is there anything that you're working on that you want to share?Jeff Russell:
I actually just released my fourth book a couple of months ago, and it was called Fire yourself first. And it really is the story of how I went, I got my freedom day was to fire myself from my business. And I am a simplifier I don't like complicated things. I don't want a dashboard or KPI. I don't want 40 KPIs, I want four. Right? As soon as I turned 50, I can't do more than three or four things. So do not prioritization is got to be succinct. It's got to be very clear for me. And so I looked at how did I get everybody was asking me, how do you get the 10 days, I'm like, here's the manual. I'm not a consultant, I don't have workshops, there's nothing I'm selling you. This is everything I do, and all the tips and the tricks on how I do it. So I basically summed it down to four steps. First one, a lot of people who sell their businesses don't do, and they don't have a purpose bigger than themselves. So when they sell their business, they get the big shock. They don't know what to do. I didn't want that to happen. I've had some good friends getting big eight figure Chuck's that I'm talking off the bridge, like they're ready to jump, because they just well, youJeff Kikel:
Don't you have to replay here you have to replace what you're doing with something. I mean, you can't have a void of just nothing, you're not going to sit on the front porch and Wilwood for the rest ofJeff Russell:
Your life. Absolutely right. And they don't realize that and it has to be something like inside that is really important for them. And then the second thing is you got to have a team that can run without you. And that many, many entrepreneurs are very bad at this because they break hire people that require them to be there. They will not make a decision, you'll be in a meeting and everyone will look at the owner, right like you. And so it's like, yeah, you're not fostering that autonomous team. And I call it I need to move to an autonomous business one that runs without me. And so hardest thing in any business is hiring people. I've hired psychopath pathological liars. I've had a players that were amazing. People have tried to sue me. And people have made me millions of dollars. There's a big range in there. If and so I created maybe five, six years ago, this 11 Step hiring process. And that's in the book. I'm like, You know what, you gotta have the right people, you know, and questions I asked, people are like, you know, what, what did you do to improve your knowledge and the last year, you'd be amazed at how many people have done nothing. Well, if you're not a self learner, you're not good for an autonomous business because you need to be able to make decisions without me the owner being there. So I got someone who's kind of that self learner and then the third of the four steps is scorecards and dashboards. The, these are KPIs, I kind of split them up and make them fun. The the owner has the scorecard, sorry, has the dashboard like on the car's dashboard. But I give all my employees scorecards, like in a basketball game, you get a scoreboard there, so that they know what number they're responsible for. And all of their numbers go into mind. Because if you're gonna let your business run without you, you need to know three or four leading and lagging indicators that show you know how your business is going, or you're going to get jumped back, you're gonna get pulled back in, right? So and sometimes this takes six months to do you test this number, it works. And then all of a sudden, it doesn't work. You'd like something was missed. So this is an evolution you don't have to it's not done tomorrow. And then what's your exit gonna look like? For me? My exit was I love my business. I love my customers love doing it. So why would I solve it. So it's not an exit yet. It's to run without me and basically operate like an ATM. So it's making money whether I'm there or not. So which exit is right for you. And you may be to the point where hey, the exit the cell is, that's your what you want. Nothing wrong with that. But if you run it as an ATM, you're preparing it for the sale, because you're not required to be there. So that's my latest project. And I thought it was fun. You know, we trademarked fire yourself. First. It was funny. No one's done it before. So that's shot. I didn't reallyJeff Kikel:
I could have sworn there was a book by that name. But that's all that's outstanding.Jeff Russell:
Yeah, there is it's my book. Yeah. But so that's led on to you, we created a website, fire yourself first.com. And you can go there and download the 11 step hiring process, a clarity map to find your purpose, and some a lot of great tools that will help you out. That is that's my latest project. So and I just love giving back and helping people because it's listening to these podcasts like this. Well, it's everyone's going to take one or two nuggets. And I really hope it's going to improve the life of them and their family and reduce the stress and just show them that you may be stressed right now. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel tunnel. And it's amazing, right? So you're gonna get there, right? It's just a simple process to follow.Jeff Kikel:
That is fantastic, Jeff, though. All right. So now let's transition to the Fast Five questions. You ready? I'm ready. All right. So first question you wake up in the morning business is totally gone? Do you have a laptop computer a place to stay food and drink? What are you going to do first? And 500 bucks, by the way?Jeff Russell:
Well, my accountant says I have a lot more than that in the bank. So I'm not really worried. But if my bank was my bank account, so that's one thing 50% of my profits hidden and not hidden from the IRS, just you know, let's move it out and make sure we have taxes are accounted for. You need to do that. And that profit first was a great read. And yeah, and it's made a big difference. You need to do that. But because I've read six books a month for 20 years, I know a lot about a lot. And I would just look at who who needs help. And who's got a check who can write a check. So sometimes the people who can need the help, don't see the value in your help and can't write a check. Well, if I've got to get back on my feet, you got to be a chalk writer.Jeff Kikel:
Love it. What's your biggest business mistake you've ever made?Jeff Russell:
I wanted to do everything myself and I didn't hire early enough. And I do that over and over and over again.Jeff Kikel:
You cannot fire yourself if you have nobody there to actually do the work. What's the best book that you would recommend for our audience?Jeff Russell:
I missed you know your audiences. I think a lot of people who maybe want to get into business for themselves or are in business for themselves. The best book I ever read probably is The One Thing by Gary Keller, because you know what our biggest problem is distractions. Whoo. There's a squirrel. Ooh, there's a squirrel, look at that silver ball. Right. And the one thing kind of trains you to focus on the first domino, the most important activity that's going to get all the other activities done. So it may be easy to do this over here. But if you can do something a little bit more difficult in knocks down 10 Things do it. Right. So you have to really think about that.Jeff Kikel:
Love it. What's a tool that you use in your business every day? A that you might recommend,Jeff Russell:
Surprisingly enough, it's a very old tool I use, we have all these AI tools and stuff that we use. And maybe those AI tools will take over from me right now. But Evernote, and one of the things I like Evernote is that I discovered how to put a widget on my iPhone of the top three tasks. So I'm hyper hyper focus, when I turn my phone on, I have the weather, my calendar, and I have a widget that tells me the top three things I'm working on today. And so that acts as like an automatic filter. And it really takes the top three things from the Evernote task bar. And so that's how it is. So I'm like, This is so simple. I've tried other things like luck in that and reminders, and none of that was simple. I just just wanted to look at it. Okay, working on this good.Jeff Kikel:
Yeah, well, and that gets back to the one thing too, it's like, okay, what are the things I need to focus on? You know, I do that my own business, I mean, I even I'm even lower tech. I mean, I love Evernote, and I use it, but I, I've got a sheet that I printed out. And it's basically got three different categories. We usually I use them as businesses, three different businesses that I've got, and then what are the key tasks, five of them that need to be completed this week for that to drive the business forward, hit my, you know, objectives and key results. And then all I have to do is just take from those and build my Three Things per day, you know, and that works out 15 tasks, five days, three to three key things a day, it's the easiest system I've ever seen. So right along the same lines as what you're doing with Evernote, you know, and you'll accomplish so much more, because you don't have this list of 80 tasks that you never get through ever.Jeff Russell:
Yeah, you gotta chunk it down to the end always filter everything. What is the truly sometimes it's urgent? Because of time? Yeah, it's not the most important, but you have to do it. You know, like, IRS filings coming up, you kind of have to do that. Right? Like, what are you doing extension? Anyways, that'sJeff Kikel:
Why I'm well, and fans of the show. I mean, I use I use an acronym idea. So it's identify what needs to be done, delegate, what you can eliminate what you can automate what you can. And after I've gotten through all those filters, anything that's left probably I have to do at that point. Yeah, until I figure out robot Jeff, and I can make a robot Jeff, do it all with AI, and then I won't have to be involved at all. I haven't figured that part out yet.Jeff Russell:
Yeah, I actually just uploaded so Claudia cloud.io allows a 30,000 word prompt inside my 125 page book is just about 30,000 words. So you can do that as a prompt, upload a book. And then what would Jeff say, and it will do that it's amazing. Wow, actually learning better ways of doing stuff. So it actually took everything in my book, and created like FAQ, like it almost was a brain dump. Because when you look at the four steps of running a business, it really is everything, I don't realize I'm doing time management and hiring processes and creating SOPs and but these are all part of a business. But when you actually have that written down, then you could actually use it as a prompt over and over again, for your own internal use. So I may be using that for my team will would just say, they're just going to upload my 30,000 page book, and it actually gives a very accurate of how I would solve something. So I am excited about how AI and where it's going. So be interested. I mean, honestly,Jeff Kikel:
It's yeah, it's a little clunky at the beginning, but I see it, you know, every so concerned about it. And I'm thinking to myself, yeah, the only people I would be concerned that if I was concerned would be the people who aren't adopting it. And they're going to be left behind at this point. So I think the speed of business is going to be so important. And if you're not looking at ways to, you know, identify AI, I mean, I just think of it, I was getting ready to send out a follow up at a networking meeting, or a networking group that I organized and where I was just getting ready to send out the like, follow up, hey, it was a great meeting and all this and I saw this little AI button on the email program that I use, and I was like, and use that before and hit that. And it says, you know, tell us what it was. And so I just kind of give a brief explanation of what it was and bam, hit the thing. wax off about 150 to 200 word email. Wow, pretty close to exactly the way I would have written it at that point. So it ended up taking me less than five minutes to do that. Instead of staring into a completely empty screen for You know, an hour trying to come up with the wording I was gonna use.Jeff Kikel:
Love it. Yeah.Jeff Kikel:
So last question, what is your definition of freedom?Jeff Russell:
You know, it's funny I trademark this a few years ago, I've been actually good i and that's another tip for you guys IP. Make sure you patent trademark copyright your your stuff because there's the most of the value on the s&p 500 is non tangible patents, copyrights and trademarks, not physical stuff. So it's important to do this, I trademark live a life well lived. Because when I was probably about 4045, I'm like, Okay, I've accomplished all this stuff. Have I really lived the life that I dreamt that I was going to live when I was in my teens and 20s. And I realized, no, I didn't write. And that's when I started, I do a scholarship to my high school, right, like actually three scholarships, because I came from nothing, right. And in my parents, it's a lot. And so I want people who've been in a similar situation to get a step up. And so I do that live a life well lived. And I asked myself, you know, when I'm filtering, do I do this or not especially more personal family things, with this really attribute to my living a life well lived. And that is really my key of freedom is I can do I want when I want, and with the people that I want, and I truly have self content well being that I am living the life while lift.Jeff Kikel:
I love it. Fantastic. Well, Jeff, thank you so much for being on, you shared with everybody, you know, places that they could find you. But if you want to just share that one more time, what's the best way if somebody wants to learn more about you or get in contact with you? What's the best way?Jeff Russell:
Sure, all those free book resources are at the book's website, which is fire yourself. first.com. So that's fire yourself first.com. So you can download them there at the very bottom or the connect with me. So LinkedIn, I'll just warn you is the best way to get in touch with me. I'm on Facebook and other ones, but I don't check them as often as I probably should. So that's a great way. If you have any questions I love to help you.Jeff Kikel:
Brilliant. Well, Jeff, thank you very much for being on the show today and sharing your story. It's it was very inspiring. For those of us that are continuing along our freedom day journey, it's an inspiration to hear what you're doing right now.Jeff Russell:
Awesome. It was awesome to be here, Jeff.Jeff Kikel:
Thank you. And folks, we really do these shows for you bring people like Jeff on to share their stories so that hopefully it makes you excited, and that makes maybe his story resonates with you. And you can follow along that path. We do these Tuesdays and Thursdays. So make sure that you subscribe to the channel. Make sure that you give us an upvote a five star wherever you're listening or watching this ad make sure that you let us know that you exist out there. And if you want give us comment, ask a question. Love to love to interact with you that way. So thanks a lot, and we will see you guys back here the very next time.Jeff Kikel:
FN Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening to the Freedom Nation podcast. You can find us on Apple podcasts and all the major channels wherever you're listening. Please subscribe to the channel and leave a rating and review. If you have friends and family that could benefit from their own Freedom Day. Please share with them. Finally, join freedom nation by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.