It’s a series about people like you and me, who decided to do something different.
They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.
They are inspiring.
They are making an impact right where they are.
They are passionate.
They are full of life.
And they are willing to share their story.
I am excited to introduce you to today’s LifeChanger, Andy Traub. Andy is a business owner, and lives with his wife and three kids in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I love this line from his bio: “I do love my work but when there’s a conflict my family always gets priority in my life.”
Andy has really inspired me with his business model and his generosity. I love listening to his podcasts, and was thrilled to have him interview me for the Quitter conversations. You can listen to that episode here.
I didn’t realize this when I planned to post this, but today is also Andy’s birthday. Be sure to wish him a very Happy Birthday!! Now, enjoy my interview with Andy!
Tammy: How did you know that you wanted to work for yourself? Was there a tipping point?
Andy: I didn’t know if I wanted to work for myself but I did know that I hated what I was doing enough that I needed to try something else. I tried something else and I’ve been doing that something else for three years.
Tammy: Can you tell us more about your story? Did you have a full time job and then leave to venture out on your own?
Andy: I worked for a few ministries after college and then got a job in finance. I sold insurance and did some financial coaching. It was ok but it definitely didn’t feel like it was something I could do long term. So I quit the investment business and started my own business building web sites and doing social media consulting. It was totally irresponsible for me to do that because we had very little in savings and I did not have a healthy client base. By God’s provision we didn’t go totally broke but it’s been a difficult few years financially.
Early in starting my own business I connected with Cliff Ravenscraft (aka The Podcast Answer Man) and he and I did a podcast together. It was great but after awhile it needed to end so we could focus on other projects. That podcast taught me about the power of podcasting and I ended up focusing my business on podcasting. That was a real blessing because Cliff invited me to host a show with him the first time we talked on the phone. I owe Cliff a lot for giving me that opportunity.
Tammy: What would you say to someone who is tired of living an ordinary life?
Andy: Everyday you wake up you have a choice to live an ordinary life. If you don’t like your life then you should change it. Make small changes if that’s all you can handle but make changes. If you don’t like your life then you should change your routines. Routines rule our lives and we have control over our routines. If your friends are comfortable with ordinary then you need new friends. If your business is ok with ordinary then get a different job. If you think ordinary thoughts (mostly victim thinking) then you need to read different books. If you’re tired of being ordinary then stop being ordinary. It’s your life and you control it. If you think otherwise you’re making excuses.
Tammy: You are great at helping others. How has that in turn helped you and your business?
Andy: Everything I have in my business is because I didn’t charge someone for my service or advice. I won’t get into details but by giving away my advice and services I’ve made every dollar I’ve made. Reciprocity is the key to a successful life, marriage and business but you have to give first. If you want to charge everyone then you can but you’re going to miss opportunities. If the BMW dealership will let me drive their car for free then it makes sense that I’d give some of my service away for free too.
Tammy: I love the idea of Take Permission. Can you talk more about that?
Andy: Most of us live our life asking and waiting for permission from others. The best example of this is asking to use the bathroom when you’re in school. Why can’t schools just let kids go to the bathroom when they have to go to the bathroom? It’s a form of control and in many ways we never stop asking to use the bathroom. We go from raising our hands and asking if we can go pee to waiting around for a promotion at a job we don’t even like. It’s a form of passivity and its deadly. If you’re waiting for permission you’re not likely going to get it. So take permission and do something. If you fail then you fail but at least you control your own destiny and aren’t waiting for someone to tell you it’s ok to go to the bathroom now.
Tammy: What advice would you give to someone who wants to leave a 9-5 job and start their own business?
Andy: Give away your service to the people who can use it the most and then learn from what they tell you. You’ll get better at what you do and your product will improve in the process and it won’t cost you much. Don’t quit without a plan. That’s irresponsible and lazy. Read Quitter by Jon Acuff. Get up at 5am every day for a month before you ever think about quitting. If you are willing to hustle you can win but if you’re not willing to work hard then just keep your job. It’s easier.
Tammy: What kind of projects are you working on?
Andy: I’m launching a new show for a couple that is starting a marriage ministry called Refine Us. That launches (as does their book Beyond Ordinary) in January. I’m hosting a few shows for authors and I’m creating multiple tools to help people improve their digital lives in the areas of email, email newsletters and podcasting. I’m multiplying my impact through digital products and moving away from one on one coaching.
I also started doing consulting with businesses to help them change their culture. That’s been really, really encouraging for the businesses and it’s saved them a ton of money in turnover and worker productivity. Their workers are happier and more productive because we’ve changed the culture. I use Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership as my guide in that process.
Thank you, Andy, for your time, and for being an inspiring example to us.
Have you ever considered starting your own business?