Recently I was invited onto the Strive to FI podcast and I jumped at the chance. Joseph the podcast host was one of the very first people to welcome me into the community of finance writers and has been giving me sound advice since. It was a pleasure to finally chat with him and to talk about my own journey to financial independence.
What did we chat about on the podcast?
What a great conversation this was. Joseph and I have way to many things in common. We of course talked about financial independence and alot about business. He’s also in the process of building his own digital agency, so we talked a little bit about that also.
From the Strive to FI Site
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Connor from Foundered. Connor is a good friend and early-retiree. In this episode, we discuss how Connor was able to start his business, grow it, and exit it in to early retirement in only 11 years! There’s a lot of great information, tips, and tricks here and you are not going to want to miss it!
Transcript of the podcast
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Strive to FI podcast. Got a very special guest on today, someone I’ve been looking forward to talking to for a while. We have Connor from foundered.co.uk How Hey going Joseph. Oh, sorry. Hey, all good man. I’m doing pretty well. How are you doing today?
Doing the very best. Yeah. Thanks very much for having me on the podcast. I’m delighted to be here. Hey, thank you so much for taking the time to come on. Perfect. Perfect. Well, look I’m a big fan of the show. I’m a big fan of yours. You’re one of the very first people to welcome you into the personal finance community online.
So I, I’m just delighted to be here and I look forward to, to finding out a bit more and sharing a bit more of my story too. So thank you. Hey, absolutely. Always thankful to have another member of the community, especially someone who’s. Obviously put in the work. I mean, I guess let’s just dive into it.
You fired 40, correct? Yeah, that’s correct. Yeah, I fired at 40 in December, the 1st of December there last year. So not to date the podcast, but we are, we’re in March of this year, so I’m four months nearly into my early retirement and yeah, it’s gone great. It’s gone really well. I’m enjoying it. So, I guess, you know, four months in, what does early retirement look like?
A reprioritization probably. So I know we’ll chat about this in great depth, but I’m, I, I come from a business background. So the last 13 or 14 years I’ve spent starting, building, growing, and ultimately exiting my business and everything else took up, backseat, family, friends, relationships, my health and fitness, all that stuff.
So right now it’s reprioritizing and getting back to the things that. So taking my daughter to school, going on lots of trips and holidays just being present in the house. Yeah. Things like that. So wholesome more than anything. Absolutely. And I, I think that’s something we’re all striving for. So I, I guess on that subject note, you brought it up, reprioritization.
When you were, when you were working, were you all in 40 hours? More than 40 hours? I wrote an article a while back and. About the e r workweek and yeah, to be honest, I worked extensively. So, you know, the first few years of business you worked 16, 18, 20 art days, because that’s what it takes. I would’ve been the person not getting up at 5:00 AM but getting up at half three in the morning, because at again, I thought that’s what it took.
And after looking back at that, getting up at half three in the morning was actually probably a stress related thing rather than, you know, being productive. But yeah, I worked all the hours, Christmas day, all those things, you know, writing up blog articles on a Christmas morning because we’ll had no kids.
So Christmas morning was just another day. So yeah, I put the effort in is what I would say. I wanna say something, but, but the truth is, last year I woke up early on Christmas Eve to Finish putting fours in our rental house. So, or what is going to be our rental house? Let me say, look, there, there’s a time and a place for working and there’s a time and a place for not working.
And Christmas morning’s probably not the time. But everybody else was in bed, so I, you know, I bared up the laptop and did a few oranges. And only, only the ones. Only the ones. And I, again, I wanna say something, but truthfully, you’re in good company. I know I’m guilty the same, but I think just about.
Entrepreneur I’ve had on the podcast has said something similar. I mean, going back a few episodes ago, Alexis Kingsbury even talked about how his wife almost left him cause he was bringing the laptops to bed. Well draw the line to bring with them that, that’s commitment. And, and to be honest, you know, when, whenever you’re working, it is all consuming and you really want to put the effort in.
And if you can put the effort in nine to five and achieve everything you want to achieve, fantastic. Or if you can’t, then you need to work those extra rs. Also looking back though, will I change things? Yes, absolutely. I’d probably take things a little bit slower and. But I wouldn’t be here tonight talking to you if it did soon.
So I, it’s a, it’s a, a poison or it’s a double edged sword that I guess it, it really is. And I, I guess hindsight really is always 2020 go going into that, you know, just to, I guess, you know, let’s build a little credibility here. Cool. You were working. Yes. And I know your average nine to five employer, what?
Ask you hopefully a whole lot outside of nine to five. So you are an entrepreneur, you had your own firm going, correct? That’s correct. Yeah. So I started my own business in the bedroom that I’m talking to now in 2009, which was in the middle of the, the previous financial crisis. I was told that I was crazy to start a business during that time, but it’s, if you’ve known me, my, my entire life, starting a business is always something that I’ve wanted to do.
I’ve always been. Or had an entrepreneur’s mindset. While this was my first venture in the business, I knew I was going to do it eventually. So in 2009, I started a printing company. Now printing back then was leaflets and flyers, and now it’s, the business is much more than that. It’s, it’s considerably bigger than that.
And we did very well. We looked after all the nightclubs in, in Belfast and here in Northern Ireland where I’m from. And the business grew from there onwards about five years in. Then we started a branding and design agency working with quite sizable companies international, national and, and local companies.
And following that, we started a digital agency working with web development and things like that. I exited the business in 2020, mid pandemic very successfully exited it. Very happy to do so, and the new guys that have taken it over are now running that in my, my absence and doing a fantastic job.
So I left. The company with about 40 staff. We were doing significant sums of, of turnover in Hi.
Actually, can you edit that bit? I, cause I’m contractually obliged. Nothing say that.
Yes. That won’t get me in trouble. We’ll just believe it. Yeah, believe it. I, we, we do quite a, a, a good turnover and we’re an international business and the business flourished during the pandemic. And it flourished during the pandemic because we were able to pivot and change pretty quickly and, and support that business.
And that’s why ultimately we were an attractive purchase for the, the new owners, and I was able to exit. So then let me ask this. Were you planning to exit or did it just happen to work out? I think every entrepreneur wants the dream of exiting their business, and the way I always describe an exit is building a business that’s perfect for seal is the same as building a good business.
And the opportunity just arose. We were not for seal. It was not something we were planning to do. So to do, but we put ourselves in a position where we were known to the mergers and acquisitions companies. We were known in that finance arena in Northern Ireland. And so when somebody was looking for a business like ours, we were the first people that were, were, the door was knocked upon.
And then it was just a conversation and it, it took about two years. From initial conversation to purchase. So it wasn’t something that was just an overnight seal. But whenever the time arose that they, they spoke to us, we decided that, yeah, this is, this is something to explore. And if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out.
But we were, we’re very happy to have the conversation and ultimately, it, it worked out for us all. Hey, glad to hear. I mean, hey, it got you here. It got you financially free, so I would agree. Y yes and no. I was five before we sold. I see that on your site more five after. So yeah, like all the principles of financial independence and, and that saving a high income or a high percentage of your income over a long period of time.
That got me to financial. I depend. The seal just added a bit of, you know, cream on top or a cherry on top. So would I be fine without the seal? Absolutely. But it’s nicer with it. I mean, hey, if somebody offered me a lump sum of cash I wouldn’t turn it down. No, of course, of course. Nobody would. I’m not quite at fi yet, but a few million might, might get me there pretty quick.
I gotta say when I, when I heard you, it’s gonna kill me. I don’t remember the name of the last podcast you were on when we started talking. It was up the games by a Sammy Yeller King in London. Hey. Didn’t reach out to him. I’ve actually never met him before that. We, I think we just followed each other on Twitter, but I was listening to that and I heard that story and I’m like, ah, yeah, I need to talk to this guy Connor cuz I’m like, wow.
I started a digital agency about a year. With the plan to one day exit and five here, I have somebody who did it, who knows how, how long before I’m gonna do it. Well, look, there’s no better agency to start with your background and skillset and the, the knowledge that you’re trying to grow. And because of the nature of the services that you sell and the products that you can sell in a digital agency, that’s where many businesses want to be in that market space.
So, you know, every, there are lots of exits happening in this arena, especially here in the uk. I’m gonna do a quick personal shill. Hey, by the time this goes live, we’re hiring. Fantastic. That’s great to hear. I thi this episode is sponsored by me. We’re hiring jaguar digital agency.com. I’ll link it down in the description.
If I remember maybe what type of Rollie hiring for. Primarily right now sales. Okay. Depending on when you listen to the snow. We do have some full-time W2 positions opening up. We’re a US based people, primarily a website development and social media content creation. Do you want me to go ahead and ask more questions about that?
No, no, no. I’ve got a whole nother thing about that coming. Probably. I, I want to, I really wanna do a YouTube video about it very soon because it’s, it’s growing and it’s, it’s. You know what? Actually this is coming out in April. Check me out on TikTok. I’ve got a short series going on it right now. Very good.
Franken, I’m delighted to hear that. That’s excellent that you’re pounding for growth. Hey, that actually, you know what? Hey, you’re here. Let’s talk about it. Pointing for growth. That’s a great point. So you started an agency and all and sold it within 11 years. And I understand that’s, you know, 11 years, that’s, that’s a good amount of time.
Mm-hmm. But still 11 years, that’s in terms of the entrepreneurial world. From zero to Sammy, bleep that out. Thank you From to a sizable sum of money. I would assume, because you haven’t told me that’s a pretty quick turnaround. Yeah. Like somebody said, it’s, you know, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.
And, and I fully agree with that. You know, there’s no overnight success. It takes time and dedication. And 10 years is the nice, lovely thing Ryan, sum of of time to achieve that in. So if we had have continued our. Growth and the trajectory that we run, we’d done greater things. But was I willing to put the time and effort in for another 10 years to do so?
Probably not. And you know, we’re talking about planning for growth here as well. I’m a salesperson, I’m not a designer. I’m not a, I have, I have a degree in computing, but I’m not a developer. So what I, I actually, it was quite funny because whenever I retired I said I would teach myself Python and I created my first script and realized, Exactly why I went into Seals about two seconds after that because it’s just, I have a admiration for any developers that are listening because I understand the challenges that you face, and you guys have a, a very good skill set.
Whereas my skills are selling. I, I can sell like. I don’t know. Can we curse in this podcast? You wouldn’t be the first. Okay. Tell like, fuck yeah. So because that’s what it was drilled into me. That’s what I’ve always known. So when you say you’re hiring for you know, for seals team there, I love that because well seals drive the business.
They drive the growth and they, you know, and we have always been focused on growing the business. So while 11 years from in, from starting the business to initial conversation about selling the business isn’t a huge amount of time, that was 11 years of consistent focus on selling and growing the business.
And there’s, I’m not the smartest person in the room. I’ll not be the, the most attractive person in the room, but I tell you what, I have one of the best work ethic you’ll ever find. And that’s not just me, that’s my brother as well. He was a partner in the business. So we worked together and we worked collectively and we, we drove each other forward to.
Really grow and to achieve what we did. So we’re, we’re delighted to both of us, and he’s still in the business today. We can edit this out if you don’t want to answer this. Mad curiosity, your brother, is he still in by choice or, yeah, so he, he’s completely in by choice. He wants, he does a number of things outside of the business.
He’s in property development both short-term rentals and, and birds essentially. So I actually don’t know what the acronym, I know it’s a bird and there’s an extra r in the end, but I’m not exactly. Renovator refurbish and all that good stuff. So he does all that, but for him, he wasn’t just finished in the business yet.
He, there’s more for him to give and he wants to achieve more things with the business and the funding and the, the growth that were planned in it. So he decided to stay in for a bit longer. For me, maybe this is the right time to exit. It’s no longer my business. And while I treated it and always treated it and worked in it like it was my.
I had to be mindful that it wasn’t my name of above the door anymore. Hey, I mean, respect. I, I think that’s the best thing in my opinion. Everyone I’ve taught to, it’s the best thing you can do is realize when it’s not your time anymore. Yeah. Realize when you, you’ve given all you can and it’s time to move on to.
Bigger, better things. And for a lot of entrepreneurs, they never get the opportunity to realize that they’re stuck in the business that they have built. And there’s nowhere else for them to go because, pardon me, at that time, nobody wants to buy it from them. Whereas we were very fortunate that, you know, we were in a good position, we were in a very good position of strength and they, they chose that they want, they came us book to us.
So it just worked out well. Hey, I mean, I, I think, you know, it’s another thing. Take the opportunities where they are. Yeah. Yeah. There may never be another time for us to sell our business, or, and we, we, we got out right at the right time from our perspective. We were making good money and the customer, or the, the, the purchaser bought a good business as well.
So I wanna step back. You mentioned that your degree in background was in computing. Yes. How how’d you stumble into personal finance? An internet search.
I googled it. I, so the business was doing quite well for a couple of years. It was launched in 2009, and I actually remember the search being something along the lines. How to see for retirement, how to retire early. And at that time, I think the first site that I stumbled upon was early, early Retirement Extreme, which is Jacob Lund Fisker website.
Is this new to you, Joseph? I have never heard of him, no. Oh my goodness. Right. So Jacob l Fisker is one of the OGs of personal finance. He. Lived on $7,000 per year. He took frugality to the extreme and I realized after reading that site that that probably wasn’t going to be for me. But at that point, I also stumbled upon Mr.
Money Mustache, the Eric, that one I got. I love him. Yeah. Well, Jacob Loan. Vicker’s site s Mr. Money Mustache by a few years actually, and he has a book guide as well. But Mr. Money Mustache obviously I, like everybody does, I think you have to read every article within the weekend and I sat up through the night and I’ll credit him.
I actually sent him a message one time to say that he changed my life and changed the trajectory of my life. And it’s a simple math behind, or the the shockingly simple math. Behind early retirement, that article and understanding high saving rates can contribute to the length of time that you retire and or the length of time it takes for you to be able to retire.
And also understanding that retirement isn’t the need. But it’s a number are the two facts that I took away from that weekend, and they have literally changed everything from there on in. Hey, I mean, think he changed a lot of things for a lot of people, to say the least. I He is, I’ve heard somebody describe him recently as the Dave Ramsey of the fire community.
Yeah. Yeah. I personally, I would agree that, I mean, he’s how I found this as well, so. Mm-hmm. And I, I know a lot of other people are in very, very similar boats. Yeah. Look, I, his website, for me, it was a lot easier to read back then because it was less articles. This is in 2011, 2012 but still maybe 40 or 50 articles that I read over the weekend, and it’s shaped the last 13, 14, 15.
Of my life then. And honestly, the things that he wrote online are still valid today. And people, you know, if people just spend less, earn more and invest everything in between, it kind of works. I, I mean that, that’s the basic of personal finance by far. Yeah. Don’t make it complicated at all. I mean, I, I guess a little on topic, off topic here, I, I’ve been ranting about this a little bit lately.
The podcast, YouTube, whatever that a lot of personal finance info is, is basic. Whatever site you get on, it’s gonna tell you to budget and pass saves, don’t spend, whatever. And the more and more I think about it, I’m like, well, what else is there to say? Because that. That’s a great point. And I probably say the same thing in every article that I ever write or every video that I ever, that I ever put out there, but the understanding of the person who’s viewing that or reading that they have different viewpoints.
They may have a different circumstance. Everybody has different circumstances. They may be. With, you know, a different view. And so you’re saying the same thing differently to attract more of a, a wider audience and, and not just a attract the audience, but help them understand. Because while it is basic advice for you and I, we live this and breathe this every single day.
Absolutely. The majority of people are, are less educated in personal finance. In fact, you know, it, it, it’s crazy. Financial literacy is so far down the pecking order. It’s not taught in schools here. I assume it’s not taught in schools. There, it is not. You have to learn that for yourself and for the majority of the population in in both countries.
And this is. No, I’m not trying to dissen anyone, but people think that they stop learning after school. As soon as you know, college or university is finished, they need no longer need to learn. And that’s the, the mass population. There are other people who choose to continue to learn and become lifelong learners and, and read and educate themselves even if it is.
You know, informational as well as educational, they’re still doing so, but the majority of people don’t. And that’s that area there is so wide and so broad that you can say the same thing in any infinite number of ways, and still you’re not gonna. Target everyone. I mean, hey, phenomenal point. I absolutely, completely agree cuz like you said, there’s, there’s a hundred, 1,000,001 even different walks of life.
So ki kind of on that topic, we touched about this when we were, we were first talking, there are some differences between. The advice, you know, you would give and I would give, and that’s just, I guess I’m saying that UK personal finance and us personal finance, the budget probably looks the same. But I read some of your your articles and I’ve been, I’m reading your blog for a while, as you know, and you’ll throw out a term every now that I’ve gotta Google and we go back to like July.
And you have July 15th, 2022. I have your site pulled up. What is a sip? I don’t know, and had to, I had to Google that and realize that’s just not relevant to me. Yeah. So a sip here is, is is a pension. And I think on your side of the water, it’s a 401k. Yes, sir. However, we, we have two types of pension here.
We have. The government pension, which is, which is a workplace pension. So the government mandated pension where every employer must provide a pension for every employee unless they opt out of it. So that is mandatory. They also have to contribute a certain level. Of your salary. So a percentage, I think it’s about 3% or 4%.
They have to do that. And it’s mandatory again, unless you opt out of it and you also have to contribute to that pension. So it’s fantastic that it’s forcing people to to, to invest for their future. And, and they have to opt out of it. Now, the, the choices of investment funds, you and I may look at those and go, oh, oh dear, they’re probably not the most optimized.
And as a previous employer, I spent quite a bit of time trying to ensure that I was putting our ames money into a fund that was aligned with, you know, the majority of the values that you and I would have. Low cost you know, low fees, things like that. In terms of how they choose to invest it, they.
Very truncated or, or shortened versions of what we would look in terms of investment funds. It’s, is it a high risk, low risk, or medium risk as opposed to all the things that we would look for in an investment fund. The other side of that is a sip. So if you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner, or you don’t, you do opt out of your workplace pension.
You might want a self invested personal. And that is what, as i, as a, an owner or business owner or an entrepreneur put my money into because it gave me all the flexibility to invest in any number of index funds. And I’m a big fan of Vanguard. So it allowed me the opportunity to put money into Vanguard funds.
I think that’s the that’s the money. Twitter, the online financial, whatever you wanna call us, influencer. Motto, we love Vanguard. Yeah, we do. I, I can get, not investment device, but when I can buy the entire total US stock market for 0.05% a year. Sign me up. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, VTI. Well, our funds over here are slightly different.
We have a series called the, the Life Strategy funds, the Vanguard i strategy funds, and they are, they’re fantastic. They’re somewhat similar, but they’re UK bias as opposed to us. And they do still buy parts of the, the funds from America as well. So, no, it. You know, you can’t really go wrong with Vanguard without, you know, and I can’t give investment advice either.
But certainly there, that’s why I put my money. So, and, and also stepping back, we we’re talking sipps for our American listeners, which actually fun fact, our largest country of listeners is Belgium. Just congratulations. Fun. I don’t, I don’t know anyone in Belgium, but whoever you are. Thank you. Americans sip, self-employed.
I guess the US equivalent of that be kinda like a SEP ira. And you mentioned of course four Ohk s and you said government mandated. Wow, I’ve, I didn’t know that. And I’m over here gonna, I’m just gonna cry in American for a minute. Yeah. Like it, it’s very small percentage and it is only, has only happened a few years back.
But if you’re contributing 4% and your employer is forced to contribute four or 5%, well, you know, there’s nine or 10% that you could easily have in your pension each year. That’s, that’s, you know, that’s a really good starting point. I don’t know if you’re like me, I like a lot more going into my pensions or my investment, the accounts share and, and the, just even step back on that one year, I put 80% of my.
A way for my, my personal finance goals, my financial independence goals, because, well, I didn’t let lifestyle inflate with my income. But 10% as a starting point, you know, if most people did that, they’d be in a, a very different financial position when they retire. Oh, no, a absolutely. I’m not gonna, you know, give up my employer here, but my nine to five.
I, I am a 401K manager. A large record keeper. So there are easy 50, 60 401ks that I, I watch over and I’ve used stats and man, we see a contribution rate of like 3% on a lot of these. And we, we call people and like, you’re doing good. Congrats. Oh my goodness. Wow. If, if I mean it getting PE I’m not, I’m sure you have the same issue in the UK and I know across the world as well.
Actually recently had an fund manager from Australia who I spoke with. Bill, if you watch this, we need to record a podcast episode. But he was talking about the same thing. If, you know, if, if you go across the total number of people investing or the total number of people putting money back, Two to three percent’s pretty good.
But sometimes, you know, you take out the owners who are investing ridiculous amounts of money and you go to just the, I like wording like this with the rank and file employees, and that number can go down to even less than 1% sometimes. So 10% of your income toward retirement’s gonna put you so far ahead.
I mean, I, I, I would agree with you. It’s, it’s a great starting point for someone looking to do what we are in the fire community, but 10% for an average. Yeah. Look, if we can just get people thinking about quitting an extra 1% per year or, or just increasing that every year with every pay increase, will, then it makes a massive difference.
But, you know, over here I’m thinking 10% as a starting point for most people, and I do appreciate that. You know, a lot of your audience in, in the state side, they’re going to 3% is, oh, I’m doing. Well, it’s for me and you to challenge them and say, are you really respectfully? Oh no, absolutely. And I, I think that’s what I mean what led a lot of us here.
Yeah. A lot of us think, I mean, cuz I was talking to somebody, might have actually been my sister recently about normal like what, at least here in the US that you look at, nor you Google your average four contribution, your average investment, your average net worth. I, I hate to say this, I really do, but normal kind of sucks.
Yeah. Average sucks too. Yeah. No, if you wanna do great things, you can’t be average. And if you wanna do great things, you will never be normal. And even just average, average is, is average. If you’re doing, you can either be better than average or you can be worse than average. And most people would consider the.
In most things better than average, but statistically speaking, you may not me. Sorry, just want to hold a tangent there. No, no, no, no, no. That’s, that’s absolutely what, what I want this to be. We are, we are very much not on script. Okay. So if you, if you want a tangent, go for it. No, we’re fine. We’re fine.
Rolling it back in. So founder, what you now, your blog, you do coaching as well, correct? Yeah. So I started the website in June of last year. I come from a digital background as I I mentioned earlier on, so I know a little bit about. You know, digital marketing. I know a little bit about web development and I know how long it takes to establish a site like ours, especially because, you know, we, we work in quite a very robust market.
You know, there’s lots of big players. We’ve. Compete against the financial institutions, and all we’re trying to do is target and educate people in a manner that, you know, they, they want to do to be informed of. So, I started the website last June and this year I went public with it in January, just after I left the business.
And for me, there’s really no intention for me to make money with the website. I want to help people understand money better. Across what, you know, it could be about earning money, making money, or investing the money, or planning to retire early. But yes, courses are going to be a part of that. I have a YouTube channel as part of that.
I have a lot of podcast interviews like this that I’m doing. And really it’s just making sure that I can reach as broaden audience as possible. The courses. Are separate to the website and they’re quite extensive. We were just chatting prior to this. I, I, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working on a course outline.
I want to make sure that it’s comprehensive but doesn’t push, you know, personal finance topics down to people’s throat. It has to be accessible for everyone. And I’ll probably launch those in June, which will be a budgeting course, and then one in September, which will be an investing course. I’m still trying to.
To walk that tightrope of talking about investing without talking about investing. So I’m, I’m not really sure how to do that yet, so that one’s on the long thicker anyway, we might, we might, this might be cut, but I do want to ask cuz talking about investing and not talking about investing in the US is not hard.
Like, I mean, I can say invest in the s and p 500 and that’s fine, but as soon as I say invest in spy S P d R S and P 500 trust, et. Then it’s investment advice, but I can mention like an index or maybe check out Vanguard. They have high growth funds, you know, that’s not investment advice. Are the rules similar in the UK or are they stricter?
I think they’re pretty much identical in that sense. You know generally speaking, that you can’t give direct investment advice. I have always just steered very clear of it. Because of that, I just don’t want the fall file of any rules because I imagine that the penalties are quite high for doing so.
And this is meant to be a site where people can come and get good, honest and objective advice without me having to. To worry about what I say. So I steer care of it so far, but I will bring that in over the summer and towards the end of the year. Yeah, definitely. Just a curiosity point. So I love what you said.
You know, founder is not a way for you to make money. So. Coming from an offer background, let me say as, as a fellow financial, I fed influencer. I don’t know what, what would you, let’s start, what would you call us? Oh, shit. What? I type stuff on the internet. That’s kind, and that’s kind of the limit of what, how I perceive myself.
I don’t know, just I, I read about money generally. Yeah, that’s probably, I, I talk about money. It’s, it’s, I talk about money, but I don’t talk about my money. Yeah, I just talk about money. That’s probably the best way of describing it. I had to ask cuz I, I, I, the term influencer goes around the internet finance guru.
I really don’t like the finance guru one. Cause then you get us into those TikTok investors who. Just buy and trade stocks. Quit your job. It’s easy. Yeah. I wanna have the confidence of some of those TikTok entrepreneurs, honestly. Like I, I look at them and think they’re billionaires the way they live and get on, but I, I know the reality for a lot of them, so sadly they’re not.
I think you, you posted tweet about that a little while back and I’m appreciate I responded. I mean, I mean, I, I’ll, I’ll start calling em out by name. And let me tell you, I’m, I’m getting very close to that point with Curtis Ray. Some, a lot of ’em are shilling garbage. Of course they are, of course, they’re, and they’re doing it in a manner that attracts more of the seam so somebody else sees them and thinks that they’re successful.
And how they’re successful is selling courses and telling people how to do exactly what they’re doing and then adjust. It’s a perpetual cycle of shit. Honestly, that’s not how I do business. I, I do good business. I think I do good business. I like to think that the bus people can trust what I say. And certainly whenever I’m giving advice, because it doesn’t come from somewhere where I’m trying to make money, I’m trying to give the most objective advice possible or not really advice, cuz that’s, I don’t give it up, I don’t give financial advice.
But, you know, inform. Actually, wow, this, this came full circle a lot better than I thought it would. I thought we were tangenting pretty hard, but No, that’s actually exactly where I, I was going with, I mean, again, this is another, we can cut this. You prefer, do you, are you listing your courses for free?
Am I to be confirmed? So I’m not sure. So the, what I’ll probably do is list them for free first, or I was thinking of doing a pay it forward, so if somebody can pay for a course for somebody who is disadvantage or financially disadvantaged there had not no idea at the minute. Right? Yeah. I mean, I’m working on, we talked in the, before we hit record, I’m working on a few things myself, definit.
Probably a course and a couple other things. And in relation to the TikTok investors and the investors this is not a video podcast so that those air quotes were lost. I sold them. It’s fine. But what I was gonna say is so in relation to them, I mean, I watch a day trader who then like, yeah, I’m a multi-millionaire day trader.
Buy my course $500. And my mind always goes, If you’re so rich, why do you need to sell a $500 course? Yeah. You’re making, making so much money. Day trading. I have a point on this. So at the minute my inbox is filled with people who want to have a coffee because, you know, I, thankfully I’ve done okay for myself.
A lot of people in my last business know me through business, so they respect the advice that I might be able to give them. But some people just wanna have a. And while I have all the free time in the world, my time isn’t free. And that’s the way I put a SL on that course. If somebody’s selling a course, they’ve put a lot of effort and focus into selling that or selling that course and creating that course.
It’s the same with all our content. We put days and decades into building the brands that we’re working on and. As the entrepreneur side of me says I should get paid for that. Whereas on the other side a lot, everything that I put on my website is free, free of charge. I did try ads last week and I took ’em straight back off again cuz I hated it.
I just didn’t like how I made my site look, so I removed them off entirely and that would’ve just paid for the hosting. In fact, they probably wouldn’t have even paid for the hosting and it was just running how the site looked. But the courses. I’ve spent 45 or 50 hours already working on the course outline.
I haven’t even hit record on a video yet. So the investment that I’m putting in, that may be three, $400 for a course that covers six hours for somebody, should there be a charge for that? And the other side of that is if you don’t charge somebody for so. Do they really value it? Because how many meetings have you went to and somebody didn’t turn up because you were doing it for free?
Even on these podcast recordings, I am probably ghosted at least once a month. Yeah. I had five meetings last Wednesday. I only do meetings on a Wednesday night, so I had five meetings scheduled last Wednesday for people who just wanted a. A little bit of advice and three didn’t turn up because I wasn’t charging for that.
So I may charge for the courses so that there’s a value attributed to it. You know, I actually have a page on my website by coaching, and anytime somebody sends a message through it, they are prompted saying that there is charge involved in this. I never charge them, but it puts a value on it so that they.
That, oh, that time is worth something. And so it just, it, it gets rid of the tire kickers and the people who really want your advice and, and want to help themselves, you can then weed them out, pray or support them easier. A hundred percent agree. I I, I should have clarified better cause I absolutely a hundred percent agree.
Your time is valuable at the time you put in this is valuable. And even if you put $5 into a course, you got that sunken cost fallacy. I guess specifically what I’m saying, irks mean about like the TikTok day traders and everything was the. You’re not walking around flaunting, I make so much money day trading, or I make so much money doing this.
Whereas yeah. And that, that’s the difference for me. I don’t, for me, when I look at them, you can’t look at me and say, I made $10,000 last week. Day trading. Now give me 500 more. Yeah, that’s, that’s where I draw the line personally. Yeah, like if, if you’re gonna provide a service on a course that helps somebody and gives them value or helps them save time, you know, everything that I would put into a course people can find online and they can find it online, but it would take them 13 years.
Whereas if I put that into a course that they can truncate that into six or seven re rs of their time of self-directed learning. Well, there should be a value attributed to that. So I may or may not charge for the course. I actually don’t know yet. And if I do I’ve always, one of the things that I want to do is to buy a forest.
Oh, really? Yeah. I want a, a, a space where people can go to. So it’s all because I had a printing company, you know, and we used a lot of paper, whereas that is the, the reverse of that. It’s putting back into some land. So I may do something like that with the proceeds of it, but for me it, otherwise it’d be spent on holidays.
To be honest, you and I really need to talk more. Cuz you keep saying stuff and I’m like, oh god. This. Because I, I, I can pull it up or eh, maybe we don’t really have the time. Can we talk about my online financial coaching? Yeah. Digital agency pushing toward retirement, or excuse me, digital agency pushing toward exiting an early retirement.
Mm-hmm. I announced in my first video this year that I’m working on a charity series that I’m hoping to buy a couple acres of cheap land and basically just be a forest. As a bit of a nature preservation. I haven’t delved further into that yet. I really want to, and I’ve got some ideas for it, but I’m like, yeah, wow, that’s, you start.
And I’ve never, I haven’t even told my wife that yet. There you go. Yeah. So look, it is probably for the same reason, you know, it’s, well in Ireland where we are there are so few forests I think it’s 8% of the country is forest, Greenland. And also, you know, where do you have to. That is without expectation of charge, a library is one.
There’s nothing outdoors. And so if you can create a space where people can go to, and, and this is actually inspired by a friend of mine who owns 20 odd acres of forest, sri land. And really it’s just that people can go and, and spend time in the outdoors nature without having to worry about cost. I mean, yeah, we really need to talk more.
Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Because I’m like, okay, so I looked. 33.2% of the US is covered by forest, which is that, that’s gotta be mostly like flyover states. I, for me it came from, I, I live in a suburban ish area. We’re definitely not a major town, but like you said, free green area is few and far between.
Yeah. And it could be for whatever reason you want, if you wanna go and spend time in nature, fantastic. If you wanna go and spend time learning new. Fantastic. Let’s do that. So I, the idea very much like yourself, the idea hasn’t been explored early, but with a bit of land you can do anything, I guess.
Well that to everyone who tweets get rich and get off the grid. Love it. So, I, I guess, you know, even totally switching topic on you here. One, one thing that we have touched on, but I do wanna talk about, we’re even doing this whole online personal finance thing a little differently. I outsource more than you do, and I, I’ve gotta know, do you have the same 24 hours that I do or, cause I mean, I know you edit all of your videos, you write all of your.
I don’t know how you do it. I really don’t. Yeah. Do you remember I mentioned the R weeks? I I kind of go all in on everything. But yeah, so I read all my own posts. I do all my own graphic work. I do my own videos see with editing, and then I take the interviews now. Yeah, it’s probably about 30 hours a week here and there of time.
But I have systems, you know, I had an agency, so I obviously knew what, what systems work and how, I just don’t know how to use them. I taught myself how to use all the programs. My company is, was huge in lean manufacturing and lean processes, so whenever I do something, I, I’ll batch a project. So if I’m doing my social posts for this, Well, it’s social posts for the next 20 days.
I’ll record all my videos at one time and I’ll edit them at one time. But yeah, somebody mentioned that, that it was quite prolific with the amount of work that I put out and I quite liked that. I, I think that’s, that’s by right May, maybe that, maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong, cuz batching, actually real quick, I, I’d like to even just for my own benefit, dive into that a little bit.
You mentioned Apologies. Go ahead. I’m sorry. See, you know, you mentioned you only take meetings on Wednesday, so what do you just block out like a x number of hours of time and just create, or how, how does it work exactly that, but like for example, today I have a meeting at 10. I have this meeting at lunchtime.
I have one at half three and I have another at half seven this evening. That is my day of meetings. Done. Whenever I’m writing content, I’ll do all my keyword research at one. I’ll then start on an article and I’ll block out all the headers and all the, the stuff that I want to talk about. Instead of me writing that article, I’ll fire up the mic and I’ll go into Google Docs and I’ll dict dictate as much of it as I can.
I hadn’t thought about that. I like that though. And what, what you do is you just do a very rough first draft, but if you’ve got your headers there, your H two tags for your article written out, well then it’s very easy for you and I or anyone to, to walk for two or three sentences beyond that. It gets a bit harder especially when you’re trying to have a.
A cohesive message throughout the entire article, but if you just draft the first draft like that and then bring it back into Google Doc so you can edit it anywhere. So I have with me at pretty much at all times a Apple USB or Bluetooth keyboard so that I can edit on my phone. And I do that. And if I’m sitting, waiting for something, instead of picking up a book or, you know, listening to the radio, I’ll, I’ll hop out the keyboard and, and finish off the article.
I mean, hey, if it works, I, I’m gonna, I mean, cuz I, I work my nine to five, 40 hours a week. 45 when you include lunch breaks? Yeah. By the time I’ve record, written and recorded YouTube video, maybe a short or two, I do edit my own shorts. Edit these podcasts, booked people on these podcasts. I’m like, It’s time to go to bed.
Well, there is the, I i, there is a difference that I have. No job. You got, you got me on that one. Yeah. I, you know, I have, I have those 40 hours a week plus commute time that, that are all mine. And to be honest, I I, I, I go to the gym every morning at about half yet, and I have a gym at home. I go to the gym every morning about half yet.
I finished there by 10, so I don’t start to 10 and I’ll do a few hours over the day and then, I’ll also do a bit more in the evening sometimes, but very little. The only thing is that we’ve just come out of winter as well here, so it’s easier to sit in and do things at home, work on the site during the winter.
Whereas when the summer months come, I’ll probably spend a lot more time away from a computer. Yeah, yeah. You got me on those, those free 40 hours. I can’t, can’t fight you on that one, but do you wanna add, cause I know I get comments about this a lot on Twitter or even emails here and there. No, nine to five.
Not at all if that’s your wealth building. Totally valid. Yeah, absolutely. Look here, most, the majority of people will get wealthy through their nine to five, and there’s no, there’s absolutely no hid for that. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be wealthy. Do I believe that entrepreneurship is one of the quickest ways to achieving wealth?
Yes, but it’s not the, there’s no one path for everybody. I’m also gonna say A riskier endeavor. In my experience. I, I will say I, I’ve had a few and I’m gonna wear that, that mm-hmm. I’ve lost decent chunks of change on, but I mean, if you’re, will, I, I agree though wholeheartedly, it’s high risk, high reward if you’re willing to take on the risk.
And I say this also as an aspiring entrepreneur who hopes to hopefully within the next year, year and a half, maybe quit my nine to five. The money’s there and it, it’s truly uncapped. Yeah, that, that’s a great point. There’s always more money to make. If you go out looking, looking for it the entrepreneurs that I now all think like that, and that’s a really, you know, getting into that mindset.
It’s not just, you’re not just limited by what you are paid in your nine to five. You can start things low risk outside of work. You can start a side hustle. Oh, if you wish, and you know, why not? But for some people they are happy with what they earn. They’re happy with what they’re putting away for their pension, and they know that over a longer period of time that that will contribute to a retirement pot.
So if that’s what you wanna do, fantastic. I don’t imagine there’s too many people listening to your podcast who think like that. But you know, if you, if you want to like the other side, I knew went out of business in six weeks. In 2009, I over traded, I oversold and all my suppliers were looking for payment and I hadn’t received any payment at that point.
So I understand, you know, it’s not all, and that’s, that’s probably the only time in my life I’ve ever been in, in, I’ll do the air quotes as well in, in debt to people. And after that we asked for payment upfront and that was still a process all the way through until I left because, well, you don’t get paid until the money’s in the bank.
A seal is in the seal until the money’s in the. I, yeah, I, I’ll admit, I, I’ve run into that a few times myself. Even recently. Come, invoices go out the first of the month, come the 15th. It’s you gotta hunt down who hasn’t paid you yet. Yeah, for sure. Under the, your finances and your p and l and the debtors, they’re the, that’s where you need to spend your time and focus.
It’s not all just business development. It’s making sure that you’re getting. It’s arguably one of the most important parts. Very good. So, I guess, you know, we’ve been talking for a little bit. Start starting more in the, the wind down questions. Okay. I’ve been dying to ask this one for a while now.
Before we even schedule this interview, how were you? The Coca-Cola polar bear? Oh gosh.
My career has been marketing and I started off in marketing when after university and I worked for the Coca-Cola events team. I’m not sure if you have an equivalent there in America. But the Coca-Cola events team are the people who work for Coca-Cola who go out and go to events and. You know, they do sampling on the, or they run the Coca-Cola events, golf days and stuff like that.
And I started that in university and cont continued afterwards as a part-time job. It was the best job in the absolute world. However, there were two parts of that job that nobody liked, and one of them was at Christmas time, whenever you had to dress up as the polar bear to go and do the Santas grotto type things.
And on. I drew the short straw and that was me. The other thing that people didn’t like was the tear of the Coca-Cola factory, but that was your ride. So that’s how I was the port of her when I, when I first met my wife she was the dinosaur for a local credit union, and that’s exactly how she described it too.
She was the shortest one, so she was the only one who fit. And everybody hated it. Yeah, well, the opposite, it was the tallest, so it was only the very tall guys who were able to get into this site. And yeah, I I’d, I’d ask you how tall you are, but I’m sure you’re gonna gimme centimeters and like any good.
I’ll say like any good American, I don’t know what that means. Yeah. Six feet, six feet. What is 180 2 centimeters? Something like that? No, I work in feet as well. So good. So then I again continue going the wind down. You’re fired now. You fired back in December. You’re four, eh, three, four months into it. Going on fourths.
It’s March 22nd. This is probably coming out sometime, give or take first, second week of April. So yeah, pretty quick turnaround. What, so what is, what does the future of fire look like? Like what, not as an industry, but for Connor specifically. Yeah. More of the cm. I’ve, what was it, 12 weeks, 30 weeks.
And I, I’ve been. Traveling for six of those weeks. Skiing and sunshine. I will play a bit of golf. My wife, my dad, my daughter, my mother, we all play golf, so there’ll be a lot of that this summer. And then I plan to move to Spain for just under seven weeks in the summer months as well. So I do an awful lot of traveling and.
I was a digital nomad before digital nomads were a thing. So whenever the pandemic came, we had all, everything set up because I’d already done all that good stuff. So I’ll probably do a lot more travel as well. But, you know, my, my focus right now as I, I, for anybody listening is to reprioritize and probably slow down.
Working quite intensely for, or intensively for the last 13 years. It, it’s just trying to decompress a little bit and realize that everything doesn’t have to happen now. So I actually took yesterday or Monday off completely. I didn’t work on my site. I didn’t tweet. I don’t think I didn’t do anything.
If there was a tweet went out, it was scheduled we ages ago. Just take things a bit slower and that’s probably the one bit of advice that I would give myself 10 years back is take it a little bit slower than you did because you’ll still reach the destination. You don’t have to put yourself under so much pressure to do so, and I think that’s phenomenal life advice that.
A lot of on upstart entrepreneurs need to hear cuz I mean, e even again, I’ll, I’ll admit I worked my 40, 45. Thankfully I don’t have to commute, but then I come home and probably work another 30, 40 more during the week when, weekend easily. Yeah. I. I’m not even working like a tech startup or anything.
I’m not doing any kind of programming. I’m not talking to investors. I can see how it spirals and it spirals fast. Yeah, like it, it’s like the day of Ramsey quote, I’m gonna misco him up. So apologies. It’s lived like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later. And it’s the exact same mindset.
For money and business. You know, very few people want to put the effort in. And not to say that people are lazy, but people are less focused or driven than others. And if you put the effort in, you will see the results in business. And so you can front load that or you can take a bit longer as well.
Hey, nothing wrong with it. And then couple, couple other things one of which we’ve talked about before. And then another I want to, I gotta ask, So look, looking into fire future, I mean, fired at 40, got got a lot of life left to live. Mm-hmm. So ski instructor, huh? Yeah, probably not. Oh really? I am not good enough to be a ski instructor.
It’s probably, I’d have to do an awful lot more skiing first, but it was always an ambition of mine that that could be my retirement job and really just enjoying being on the mountains. But my daughter’s only seven, so she’s still in school here. We don’t live close to the mountains, so we, it’ll be a few years from now anyway, if it even happens.
Well, I guarantee and nothing else you’ve got me beat. I’m not sure how well you know US geography, but mm-hmm. I’m the southern tip of. Then I moved to Florida, south Florida. Man, it’s in central Florida. Really? I’ve never actually seen snow in my life. Oh wow. So my wife’s from Chicago, so she loves to tell me all about it.
So if I ever ski, I know who I’m giving a call to. Yeah, for sure. I’ll be delighted to, to go ahead and go with you. We’ll, we’ll schedule another Wednesday Zoom so you can just watch me and tell me what I’m doing. Yeah, absolutely. No problem at all. And then another thing I want to ask you about, so music producing.
Yeah, I see the, the piano in the background there or the keyboard in the background? Oh yeah. Well for anyone who doesn’t know I started college as a saxophone performance major. Hello. And then one day I got very angry at my saxophone professor and decided to change my. Next building over happened to be the college of Business.
Then three years later, I had a degree in finance. Oh, very good. Great story. If it had been the engineering building, I’d probably be an engineer right now. Very good. It just worked out. That’s brilliant. And did you enjoy the business side of things? I loved it. Good, because I, I, I say angry at my professor.
He and I actually got along really well. What it really came down to more so was. He sat down and had a very real talk with me about career opportunities and how much I’d be expected to make, and I’m like, oh, this ain’t it. Yeah. Yeah. There’s not as much money music unless you’re. You know, international performer?
I believe so. Yeah. So yeah, I guess see music production. Yeah. I like, do you make music or? I do badly. I like techno, I like house music. I was a DJ for a long of 16 years actually. Powers a dj. I’m play in clubs, play different places. And I just enjoy music. I really love dance music. It’s just a hobby and I’m not very good, but I enjoy punching a few keys and making music come out on the other side.
What I think is, you know, it’s noise on the other side. Anyway. Hey. I mean, that, that’s perk per of fire though. I mean, you, you have time to explore that now and Yeah, and I’m teaching my daughter music production, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re enjoying making it together, and she likes to sing into the microphone and she likes the songs that we make, and it’s just spending time doing things that both of us enjoy.
That’s, that’s it. I mean, that, that’s the goal. You mm-hmm. You’ve mentioned that a few times, and I mean, Work is great. Quote Mona Regos, who was on I think first 10 episodes of the podcast. Work is great. Work definitely has its purpose, but it’s not everything. I mean, nothing. You can’t put a price on that kind of quality time.
Oh, that’s it. And you know, I don’t know about your parents, but mine wouldn’t have the first idea about music production. Maybe, you know, some parents are musically. My, but I’m getting to teach my daughter things that I never knew until I was an adult. So it’s giving her different experiences and learnings that, you know, she’ll be able to take with her for the rest of her life.
And if it was something she likes, well she can build upon it herself. Hey, great to expose em, give em that career opportunity. Can we find, can we find you on Spotify? No, I haven’t released anything. Sound, SoundCloud then, right? No. Not even. No. I, there’s, there’s nothing out there. Oh, maybe there is. Maybe there.
I do. You know what? If you find something, if you find something, I will be highly embarrassed about it. But no, to be honest, like there, I don’t know. I have to go and giggle myself. I don’t haven’t done it for one. All right. Well, We’ll, we’ll say Connor foundered, Nick’s tape dropping soon. How about that?
Absolutely. Go over to his Twitter pestering for that. For sure. Don’t, don’t actually do that. It kind of ruins what we’re going, the message we’re going for here in Sidetracks. So I guess, you know, then outside of just fire music production, skiing, what’s what’s next for Connor? To be honest, this year is just decompressing.
It’s, it’s just taking time and figuring out what’s next. So I, I have no plans. I’m working on the website, I am working on the courses as we discussed. I’m. Working on my YouTube as well, so I’m not naturally somebody who likes to be in front of the camera. But I’ve made a point of putting myself in front of the camera and every article that I write, I am reproducing as a video and using that as something to, you know, give myself something else to learn.
And to develop a talent to develop, because it’s easy to direct the camera. It’s not just as easy to be on the other side of it. It’s, it’s a very niche skill and most people can’t do it. You know, it’s like public speaking. As soon as you put a camera in front of somebody, they, they seize up. They have that fear.
And so I wanted to make sure that I can get rid of it. So I, I do all of. Hey, it’s, it’s a skill to learn. So then we, we’ve mentioned your site, your YouTube, all that. If any of our listeners wanna connect with you online, where can they find you? Yeah, the primarily they can get me at Find, which is f o u n b e r e d.co uk.
Connorfoundered on Twitter and Foundered Money on YouTube. . And I will make sure to link all of that in the show notes. Of course, if you’re listening to this on YouTube, it’s down the video description. Joseph, that’s awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you. Hey, of course.
And Connor, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you so much for your time. It has been a pleasure and I will definitely connect again with you. Well, anyway, five minutes probably on Twitter, but I really, I really appreciate you allowing me to come on and to share this message and, and my own story.
So I do Thank you so. Hey, you’re welcome and really appreciate what you do and for everybody listening really appreciate you as well. And stay tuned. We’ll see y’all next week. Thanks. Bye-bye.
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