161 FIFM – The Power of Giving Before You Get

Where are you in your business right now and what are you doing to give back to your customers? Giving is hard, it totally is, and I get it. Whether it is time or money, whatever it might be, giving is tough.

But you must put yourself in a position where you are able to give more than you receive. You need to give more value to your client. In this episode, I will let you take a glimpse of my system that enables me to give more value than all of my competitors.

Learn how I have become the top-of-mind to customers during tough times. All that and more, in today’s Freedom In Five Minutes.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Technology Enhances Your Power of Giving
  • Learning How to Be Giving from Jermaine Griggs
  • Build a Community Who Loves What You Do
  • Giving Time to Your Clients Makes All the Difference

Technology Enhances Your Power of Giving

Technology Enhances Your Power of Giving

It is an interesting time we are living today. I believe that it is an old Middle-Eastern saying, “May you live in interesting times.” We are definitely at that point.

I know that some people are getting hammered while some people are doing well. Now, I came to a realization that no matter what happens, you are going to be in a situation. Whether that is a good situation or a bad situation, it is all there to help you learn.

Of course, when you are in harder situations, then it is much more difficult to learn. It may be harder to see why it is happening. But it is there nonetheless and there are learning opportunities from these situations.

That brings me to this point. The advancement of technology in this age has always fascinated me. In regards to marketing, the things we can do now used to cost thousands of dollars and a lot of your time two decades ago.

The neat thing is, those are no longer issues today. Those things are no longer considered a constraint because of the technology available today. You can automate so much today for less than a hundred dollars that would have cost thousands of dollars before.

Of course, costs will be more expensive as you scale. But one of the things that I think only a few people do is giving gifts.

Learning How to Be Giving from Jermaine Griggs

Learning How to Be Giving from Jermaine Griggs

I am an introvert by nature and rather selfish.

It all started back in 2014 with Infusionsoft. I bought a course from a guy named Jermaine Griggs, one of my mentors, who is absolutely amazing.

So, I started his course and learned all the things that he was doing with marketing automation. Everything from gathering data to sending text messages or gifts in the mail. The things he was able to do with automation were insane!

I really wanted to do that for my business and be able to systematize my processes. But the partners that I had during that time were not as excited as I was. I truly felt that there was something great in the online realm because only a few did the things I was taught. Nobody sends things in the mail anymore.

So, I honed the skills that enabled me to connect a lot of different software that you can use to send gifts through the mail. It was very interesting. We started doing this for the Online Empire Academy where people would pay $697 to learn how to sell online.

Right after a person bought the course, they would get a call on the phone and they would hear a voice recording that would say, “Hey, this is Dean Soto of the Online Empire Academy. Thank you so much for getting the course…”

Although it was a voice recording, we made it clear that their purchase was something really important to us. Some people ended up buying more things from us and in return, they would get more in their mail like cookies, brownies, or gift cards.

Build a Community Who Loves What You Do

Build a Community Who Loves What You Do

This built a huge community. It was not just a community where people were talking to one another. Rather, it was a community of people who really loved us.

I used to get messages from people who were absolutely impressed by our automated gift system. So, I kept developing this habit of building similar systems where customers get something in their mail that shows just how valuable they are to us.

Each of them feels like they are not just another customer. I want them to feel that we appreciate them and that they are not just giving us money without getting value in return.

I want everybody who works with us to get something. That habit is so cool because it is probably the best marketing tool that we have ever used in our business. I cannot remember a time where we would not get referrals after referrals.

These referrals would come by word-of-mouth because we have become top-of-mind.

Now, if we have profited one-thousand dollars off of an individual, I would not have any problem spending 10%-20% ($100-$200) in giving back to that person to give gifts and fun experiences.

Because of doing this, we see a lot of people refer us or stick with the business for a lot longer. That $100 spent on them turns into a lot of money over time.

Giving Time to Your Clients Makes All the Difference

Giving Time to Your Clients Makes All the Difference

By doing this, you are giving time to your customers as well. My clients know that they can call me and ask for whatever they need and I am usually going to be available. I always give them time so we can talk and chat.

There is so much value shown when you are able to give constantly. You are able to hold on to customers and grow your business.

I had a call with a software company that focuses on customer retention. I just wanted to see what they were about but their way of retaining customers is through amazing algorithms and reaching out right before it is time to cancel and sending a nice message or whatever.

That sounds great, do not get me wrong, but what if they get a gift right before that message in the mail. That is quite a different thing. Right before they potentially cancel, they get a gift.

What about if they get something in the mail even if they did not cancel? I have customers who reactivated their memberships. Nobody talks about that. What if customers get gifts in the mail and that was one factor why they reactivated?

Customers can leave because their plans change. Especially, with this global Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of business plans have changed drastically.


Things change, but if your business is the one that is top-of-mind, what do you think is going to happen? Customers will flock to you, they will look at you because you gave them value and attention.

What are you doing to give? Giving is hard, it totally is. Whether it is time or money, whatever it might be, giving is tough. I totally get it.

But what are you doing right now that puts you in a position to give more than you receive so that you can then give more to your client? What system do you have in place for that?

I want you to seriously consider developing a system if you do not have it — to enable you to give more than all of your competitors.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, founder of Freedom In Five Minutes. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com. Do that and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast Episode.

Check out this episode!

160 FIFM – Automating Your LinkedIn Lead Generation The Easy Way

Today on Freedom In Five Minutes, I talk about how LinkedIn is still an awesome place to connect. Some people might disagree but there is a secret behind the positive impact in my business when people see content through Linkedin.

Listen to this episode and learn how to grow your business by utilizing automation with LinkedIn.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Is LinkedIn a Pool of Leads? Or a Pool of Bots?
  • Do People Still Use Linkedin to Connect?
  • Connecting is All About Building Rapport
  • Make Connections on LinkedIn with These Tools and Automation
  • How to Utilize If-Then Conditional Flows in Lead Automation
  • You Can Make Connections on LinkedIn via Automation Without Being Spammy

Is LinkedIn a Pool of Leads? Or a Pool of Bots?

Is LinkedIn a Pool of Leads? Or a Pool of Bots?

For years, LinkedIn has been one of the best places to do lead generation. But recently, it has become a salesy and spammy platform. A lot of people that I know on LinkedIn feel like people only want to connect so that the autoresponder can invite them to buy stuff.

I was interacting with people on LinkedIn not too long ago and it wasn’t long before I got a thank you and a “by the way I do this stuff…”

I wonder why people would do this?

A lot of people just are despondent. They do not like LinkedIn anymore. It used to be such a beautiful place to connect with people and it has turned into a spammy, automated, and nasty place.

And then, you get very obvious bots that try to connect with you — or using some kind of automation.

These bots usually say something like, “Hey, love your stuff. I thought it would be mutually beneficial to connect.”

Or it might say, “I love what you’re doing at ProSulum, LLC”

And it’s obviously a bot using a merged tag because who says “ProSulum, LLC?” A spammy and bot infested platform can be a really annoying place to be sometimes.

Do People Still Use Linkedin to Connect?

Do People Still Use Linkedin to Connect?

A lot of people are done with LinkedIn. It is already so saturated with spam bots that people feel like they can no longer sell and connect to people on that platform. People feel that LinkedIn is no longer a good marketplace.

Well, I beg to differ. A lot of the things that people get stuck with when it comes to any type of automation is that it needs to be robotic. The fact is, most people suck at automation and people can tell right away if something is automated or not.

Part of the reason why people get so fed up with platforms like LinkedIn and email is because of spam. These days, people cannot do cold email lead generation anymore. It no longer works because everyone hates spam.

If you are going to just blast your mail to ten thousand people, of course, you will be marked as spam. Of course, it is not going to work. You have to do things in a way where it is much more personalized and creative yet automated.

Personally, I am going to stick with LinkedIn in this particular case because there are only two things to keep in mind when doing any type of lead generation.

Connecting is All About Building Rapport

Connecting is All About Building Rapport

First, if everyone says something does not work, then more than likely it will work if you do it the right way.

Second, if you are doing any type of automation when it comes to lead generation, you have to be much more creative nowadays.

Most of the people on LinkedIn are business people looking to connect with other business people. The biggest problem is that they are also looking to sell to other business people.

To differentiate yourself, you must develop a rapport with people and give a lot of value upfront. By doing that, you are able to build a relationship with your target audience in a way where you are not being an annoying pest.

As Dan Kennedy would say, “From an annoying pest to a welcome guest.

I remember back when I started my business in 2009, I would go to a lot of networking events. One thing I noticed were two types of people in these events.

There were those people who literally just wanted to chat, have fun, talk, and connect to someone. The other type of people were those who came around and simply tossed business cards in your face, “Hey take a business card. Hey, take a card, here you go.”

They would throw out a thousand business cards to a thousand people. And then, they wonder why no one called. No relationship was built whatsoever and no one would buy from them. That is the way most people use LinkedIn.

Make Connections on LinkedIn with These Tools and Automation

Make Connections on LinkedIn with These Tools and Automation

A few months ago, I went back to LinkedIn. I thought that there was an opportunity there and I had already been using LinkedIn to grab names and data for sending out cold emails.

The tools I used were Dux-Soup to scrape LinkedIn Premium along with other apps like Hunter.io to find emails. And then, my team would send cold emails to those people but the communication would not be within LinkedIn itself, it would be off-platform.

I wanted to figure out how to build my network on LinkedIn with people who would definitely be one of my best types of customers; I want to connect with people who would love my services and would benefit from what I have; I want people to look at what I post and share on LinkedIn, like my interview and training videos.

How can I build that up automatically without sounding spammy? It is almost like farming where one starts working the field, planting seeds, watering, and nurturing the crops. Over time, people see the value in what I am saying and willing to give my services a try.

One of the problems that I was facing is that in order to reach more people, I needed to connect with more people. Dux-Soup was good for connecting but it did not have the sophisticated automation that I wanted to have.

How to Utilize If-Then Conditional Flows in Lead Automation

How to Utilize If-Then Conditional Flows in Lead Automation

Most automation allows you to modify or merge the first name so that you are able to send customized messages like “Steve, Hey, how’s it going?”

Or, “Jeff, Hey! Came across your profile…” Automations allow you to send these types of personalized messages and it is such a great thing!

However, what most automation does not have is the “If and Then” feature. If they have “X”, then do “Y”.

When you are doing any type of automated conditional workflows or conditional statements, If-Then statements are extremely powerful. Humans make thousands of If-Then statements or conditional workflows and execute on those workflows every single day.

I teach this at FreedomInFiveMinutes.com.

When people see something that utilizes If-Then conditioning, it resonates with them much more than if something does not. I know that sounds far-fetched, but the power of it is so underutilized. It is the reason why most automation looks like crap and why most people hate it.

I wanted to find a tool that allowed me to utilize If-Then statements with LinkedIn. I ended up moving to a tool called Linked Helper. They had just recently introduced the ability to use conditional workflows for messaging and it is so cool! One of my main problems was the connection part of the reach out.

You Can Make Connections on LinkedIn via Automation Without Being Spammy

You Can Make Connections on LinkedIn via Automation Without Being Spammy

If you are a spammy connector, that is what will get you in so much trouble with LinkedIn. When people are constantly ignoring and flagging you as “SPAM”, you can get shut down very quickly.

So, how do you connect with people through automation? Linked Helper allowed me to connect with people through mutual connections.

I could say in my messaging, “Hey Steve, I noticed that we both know Sam Carpenter,” and Sam Carpenter being our mutual connection.

If we had two mutual connections then it will mention both mutual connections in the automated message, “…noticed that we both know Ramit Sethi and Sam Carpenter…”

And then, the message goes on to say, “I want to connect with other people in the X industry like yourself,” whatever industry that might be like the packaging or merchandising industry for example.

The point is, if the person I want to connect with on LinkedIn has mutual connections with me, the automation will mention those mutual connections in the message.

Think about it, if someone says to you, “Hi, I think we both know George. He’s a great guy. I just wanted to see if you wanted to connect maybe over coffee or something,” it sounds a lot better than, “Hi Dean, I  would like to be your friend.”

Doing this has skyrocketed the number of acceptances I have on LinkedIn to about a hundred daily connections now and these are all automated.

I even get people who say, “I usually do not hire consultants, but I’m listening.”


Through this strategy, I have gained customers with just $79 a month for LinkedIn Premium plus $15 a month for Linked Helper. This turns into several thousand dollars in revenue per month.

That’s not bad at all, and not even counting clients from LinkedIn that came from connecting and developing valuable content or sharing valuable things and growing rapport. These are extremely important.

If you are just looking to connect with people, I highly recommend using something like Linked Helper or Dux-Soup just to get the connections going. Rather than focusing on the connections themselves, you can create valuable content as connections are being made.

Over time, people will see your valuable content through the LinkedIn algorithm. The more that you do that, then the more you are able to reach people make a huge difference in their lives.

And you can grow your business at the same time! It is amazing what you can do by utilizing automation with LinkedIn. You can use it to create a pretty awesome LinkedIn lead generation machine. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Resources and Links

You can use a Virtual Systems Architect from ProSulum.com. You can also schedule a discovery call at FreedomInFiveMinutes.com for the same and have them do other stuff like replying to people who have directly messaged you.

Virtual Systems Architects can do a whole bunch of other stuff so that you do not have to do it. Anyway, I am going to continue building the fence that I have been working on in my garden and I will catch you on the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

159 FIFM – Even a Tiny Bit of Dirt Can Dull Your Business Blade

In today’s episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, I talk about the key to a thriving business despite the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The ideas that have made your business profitable may have worked in the past decade or so and being fixated on these ideas may seem reasonable. But the fact is, businesses clinging to their old way of running their business are suffering and are heavily affected by the global crisis.

Change is inevitable. Now, more than ever is the time to be open-minded to new ideas and make the necessary changes to your business and make sure that your business survives and thrives even in the face of uncertainty.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Your Business is Like a Chainsaw
  • There is More Than One Way to Run a Business
  • A Good Entrepreneur is Always Prepared to Adapt
  • A Decentralized Business System is the Future

Your Business is Like a Chainsaw

Your Business is Like a Chainsaw

The other day, I bought a STIHL MS 362C Chainsaw. That is right! Your boy Dean was cutting down some trees and it was awesome. I was nervous at first because I have never used a gas-powered chainsaw before. 

So, I logged in to YouTube to check out videos about chainsaws. That was where I found out about kickbacks and how to be as safe as possible.

After that, I got all my gear on: I got my chainsaw and safety chaps, helmet, gloves, glasses, and hearing protection.

The whole time, I thought, “Oh my gosh, what if this thing kicks back and smacks me in the leg when I’m trying to take down this tree and I have to go to the doctor because I’m bleeding out?” 

There was a ton of other stuff going on in my brain. To be honest, I was worried at first but it ended up being absolutely awesome after all. I suffered no injuries and I ended up knocking down the whole Elderberry. 

Everything was going well as I was cutting down the Elderberry tree when I dipped the tip of the chainsaw a little bit on the dirt. Of course, I did not notice it right away.

What happened was, I started to smell something a little different and that the blade was not sawing wood as great as it should. The chainsaw was really good. It was such an effective sawing tool but did I already have to stop and sharpen it? 

If it doesn’t take long to dull out, is this even worth it after all? I remember something when I bought the chainsaw from Ace Hardware. 

The guy helping me out with the purchase said, “You have to sharpen the cutters when you hit the dirt.” 

There is More Than One Way to Run a Business

There is More Than One Way to Run a Business

Obviously I hit a little bit of dirt because the cutters went dull so quickly. I was able to cut through some more wood, but barely. I could tell it just was not sawing wood nearly as well as it should.

In fact, I could hear some kind of scraping sound when I spun the chain again. I was wondering how something so powerful can be rendered ineffective with just a little dirt. How could that happen?

So, I started doing some research about chainsaws. What I found was, just a little bit of dirt can indeed dull the cutters pretty fast.

It’s amazing how something so small and insignificant can cause something so powerful to no longer work properly. I realized that it’s the same way with business. One little idea — one little way of doing business a certain way — can cause that business to go dull as well.

Today, we see this among the businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic where the business owners have fixed themselves to the idea that there is only one way to run their business.

For example, there is an idea in the restaurant space that all orders need to be made in person. Although the idea is true for a few, it is not necessarily true for most types of businesses, especially in fast-casual restaurant types.

A lot of fast-casual restaurants do not have takeout or drive-thru. The reason is that they wanted to show they have a casual dining type of restaurant and the quickness of fast food.

A Good Entrepreneur is Always Prepared to Adapt

A Good Entrepreneur is Always Prepared to Adapt

Because of this idea that they have fixated themselves, these business owners have a harder time during this pandemic. They are not open to a better way of doing business remotely such as take-outs, mobile orders, and deliveries.

Big chains that got hammered during this pandemic are ill-equipped to run their business, they are simply not prepared.

The Butterfish app is a great example. They allow people to order through the phone online and it is so easy compared to ordering food in person during this pandemic. People simply have to go online and order their food-to-go, instead of waiting in line 6 feet apart from other people which is very unwelcoming.

A reason why business owners refuse a remote setup is that they want everyone to visit their store. These business owners will defend their old way of doing business and it is exactly the same thing with other service-based industries.

I have clients who have service-based businesses where they have all of their employees coming into their office. While that sounds nice, we are at a time where the business continuity for that particular model is questionable now.

If people cannot come into the office during the pandemic, what are you going to do? You have to figure out a way to have your customers and team members work remotely. And if you did not do that before, then you are now scrambling to figure out how to help your business survive while your workers have to figure out how to protect their family during this pandemic.

A Decentralized Business System is the Future

A Decentralized Business System is the Future

There are a lot of other small ideas that can quickly dull out your business and make it vulnerable. That is why it is very important to regularly maintain your business just like you would with a chainsaw. 

If your business was a chainsaw, you will have to clean out the dust, get it oiled up, and remove even the tiniest speck of dirt. If you do not, then the cutters will quickly dull out.

This global pandemic is the perfect time to set up maintenance for your business. Clean out this dirt so that it does not build up over time and you will never find yourself stuck in a place where you become vulnerable. 

Everybody is affected by this global pandemic. However, businesses that quickly adapted to working remotely at the onset of this crisis suffered less. And that is in complete contrast to businesses who refused to adapt — they are struggling and have suffered a massive dip in their business.

Today, I challenge you to continue building a remote setup for your business so your people can work remotely. I have been telling so many businesses we work to decentralize their business system as much as possible.

Business decentralization provides a lot more opportunities in the future because it is the future. The less that a business owner can rely on staff in person, the more they will see amazing results. A business owner simply needs to be prepared for a future where things are decentralized.


Design your business systems and build your library of process documents. This is the key to grow out of being reliant on one or two staffers. Anyone can do anything in your business if armed with the right process document.

If, for whatever reason, you have to let people go then your business may still continue to run smoothly. These are the things that you must focus on, now more than ever.

For restaurants, start figuring out a way to offer to-go orders, take out, or catering. The business owners I know who offer catering services and to-go orders have been doing much better than everybody else. That is the way it is going to be and that is the way you have to start thinking.

You have to get that dirt out of your mind where it has to be one way to do business. Get all that dirt out of your business and you are going to be in a much better situation than everyone else.

Resources and Links

This has been Dean Soto, founder of FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com. Get your standard operating procedures in order. Clean out the dirt — the idea that you can rely on yourself or some other staff member. Start going remote as much as possible and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast Episode.

Check out this episode!

158 FIFM – You Don’t Know What You Have In Your Garden Therefore Everything is A Weed

You never know the full aspects of what you have at your disposal unless you actively search all your options and alternatives. That being said, what is one thing that you do right now or a tool at your disposal that you can investigate further to discover all it has to offer?

In this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, we talk about how to grow a business in a variety of unexpected ways by uprooting all the different possibilities that the tools at your disposal have to offer.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Do You Know What a Food Forest Is?
  • Know the Difference Between Your Seedlings and Weeds
  • Be Well Informed About a Tool Before Dismissing It
  • You Have to Know All the Alternative Solutions for Your Business

Do You Know What a Food Forest Is?

Do You Know What a Food Forest Is?

For about a year now, I have been doing a lot of research on food forests.

Food forests are like woods but a food forest is essentially utilizing mother nature’s way of growing edible stuff. You can grow lettuce, cabbage, beans, fruit trees, and a wide variety of different food in a food forest. 

The concept is awesome and it works! There are tons of stuff out there that show you how to grow a food forest. So, I started planting. I bought seeds off of Amazon. My idea is to create a survival/herb garden. I have thousands of seeds worth about $45. And these seeds are non-GMO, which is great. 

On the flip side, I got those same seeds for my wife and we both started planting. I planted the seeds to start growing a food forest. She, on the other hand, planted her seed on our garden enclosure. The garden enclosure was all thanks to her handy-dandy loving husband. No scavenging critters can get in the garden enclosure with two-foot-high raised garden beds so my wife does not have to bend over when planting the seeds or harvesting food.

When we started planting, there was one thing I noticed — something that my wife knew right away. We are not experts at gardening and we do not know what the seedlings look like — the things we just planted.

One of the things that were going to be a problem was discerning the weeds from the food seedlings.

Know the Difference Between Your Seedlings and Weeds

Know the Difference Between Your Seedlings and Weeds

My wife had a clever solution. She put up these cute little signs that had drawings of the food we planted. The signs had illustrations of kale, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, beans, and other things we planted.

The little signs were perfect! We were able to know exactly what the heck we planted in a particular garden bed. And as things started growing, we knew what the seedlings looked like, and removing the weeds made it very easy.

I, on the other hand, went to my food forest and utilized trees that were already there. You can utilize trees in areas that are already good to make a food forest because you need to have different layers that consist of larger trees, dwarf trees, bushes, and so on. 

I was utilizing all these areas by planting my seeds all over the place in a variety of ways. Later on, I realized that — in my infinite wisdom — I sowed the seeds in a place where a lot of weeds grow. 

For example, there is food that naturally grows here called miner’s lettuce. Now, if you did not know what it was, you would think it was just some weed. But this is a natural food that grows in the wild.

Miner’s lettuce is a tender rosette-forming plant that has a pair of leaves connected together around each stem so as to appear as a single circular leaf. You can take the vitamin-C rich stem and leaves to eat and it is really good for you.

So, if you cannot distinguish if a plant is a weed or not, you run the risk of destroying the productive stuff.

Be Well Informed About the Tool Before Dismissing it

Be Well Informed About the Tool Before Dismissing it

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with a client. He was very anti new technology, very anti-Google Docs, very anti-Google Drive. Because he has done everything the old way.

He spent three hours writing a document on Google Docs — which you should never do, by the way, but he was in that mode of doing it. Although, he did admit that he has a habit of manually writing all his processes in documents.

That is not how you should do it. The documentation should be written based on a video that somebody else recorded. But he knows it is his old habit and he is trying to beat it. 

Now, he went back to Google Docs and could not find the document anymore. It had disappeared. Now, he wanted to get rid of Google Docs from his system.

“I’m tired of Google Docs, I’m done with it. It’s horrible,” he said.

The reason he felt that way was because he did not know anybody that could tell him that Google Docs has a Version History that keeps a record of all the changes you made on the document.

So, I sent him a how-to video that showed him how to access the Version History and check out the changes he made. That is one tiny little benefit of Google Docs out of tons of other benefits.

Because he did not know about any of that, he could have easily uprooted the entire system he was building simply because he thought that Google Docs was a weed. Without the right information, a person can easily dismiss a great tool as a bad product for the business that was more of a hindrance than a help. It is the same thing that goes in my garden.

You Have to Know All the Alternative Solutions for Your BusinessYou Have to Know All the Alternative Solutions for Your Business

If I do not have the right information about the food I planted, then I run the risk of making massive mistakes. I could harvest my crops too early or at the wrong season. Or worse, I could mistake my seedlings as weeds! If I do not know any of these things and do not understand them, then I am screwed.

One of the big things that we have to do as business owners, and as people in general, is to know rather than just trusting other people to tell us what to do. We have to know the things that are around us. 

I realized that a big disadvantage of people who live in the city is that they are not close to their food, natural shelter, warmth, and natural drinking water. 

As soon as you move out into the country, you have to get very intimate with stuff like that. You have to start understanding because it is a matter of life and death or massive discomfort and comfort.

When you are starting a business, you have to see all of the options and alternatives that you have. As soon as you do, you are going to be informed. You will know when something is a benefit and when something is not. 


What are you using in your business right now that you really have not fully looked into yet? We get this all the time with clients who work with our Virtual Systems Architects — clients who tend to have only one way of using VSAs and that is it.

It is one of the reasons why we are building a community for all of our clients so that we are able to grow their business in a variety of ways that they did not expect.

What is the one thing that you are doing today that you need to investigate and discover the different possibilities?

I challenge you to go and discover the aspects of what you have at your disposal. Once you do that, you are going to find that there are many things that you were not considered after all. And these are things that could potentially benefit your business today.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, Founder of Freedom In Five Minutes. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com there are lots of cool stuff over there.

Check them out and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

157 FIFM – Sometimes the Only Way You Can Learn is by Doing It

Have you ever been intimidated by something you have not done before? Is this something you have kept on putting off because you felt like you needed to learn more about it or simply lacked the confidence to start the work?

Today, I encourage you to just do the work that needs to be done — even if you haven’t done that specific task before. By doing so, you will discover that the best way to learn is to take action.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Build Things for Your Family to Enjoy
  • Do Not Be Afraid to Learn by Trial and Error
  • Learn It Once and You Can Do It Faster Next Time
  • Start to Learn Doing New Things and Grow your Business

Build Things for Your Family to Enjoy

Build Things for Your Family to Enjoy

As of this recording, I am trying to build an above-ground pool for my family. My wife is about 7 weeks out from having our new baby — as of this recording.

Now, I am trying to build an above-ground pool so she can enjoy it with our kids.

Because of this little project, I had a guy come over to help me with the building pads for it. His name is Andrew.

Now, If you are wondering what building pads are for, building pads are necessary things in construction because they make an area flat. Any type of structure that you build needs to be level and flat.

I had no idea what a building pad was before, too. So, Andrew specializes in these types of things.

Hee brings out his heavy equipment and starts to make building pads. I live in the hills and the area that I am at has a pretty rugged terrain.

Despite that, there are a couple of areas where I wanted to fill with dirt from other places. I even found a great middle-ground spot to put up a huge building pad for a workshop.

One day, I want to build my own little workshop so that I can do my own carpentry. Another thing that I want is to put up solar panels. I just have so many ideas!

Anyway, Andrew comes over and he is just a super nice guy. He is willing to spend so much time, especially during this fire season — trying to get out and help put out fires.

So, for the building pads, he uses everything from skid steer loaders, to front loaders, and bulldozers. All these different heavy equipment. Andrew came over and we started talking.

Do Not Be Afraid to Learn by Trial and Error

Do Not Be Afraid to Learn by Trial and Error

I told Andrew, “I wish I could do what you do.” 

And he was such a nice guy. He said, “Oh, it’s not that hard. All of these things, I learned them by doing. You can’t learn how to run heavy equipment just by reading something or watching Youtube videos. You have to actually get on the thing, utilize it, play around with it, and have fun with it.”

And I said, “Really? You just figured it out?”

He replied, “Yeah! I mean, you just get a piece of equipment — whether you rent it or anything like that — and you start bringing it up to your place and start messing around. Just start moving stuff and you will see that it is not as hard as you think it is.”

So, here I am, barely building cat houses and garden enclosures, thinking, “Really? That guy was able to run these huge heavy machineries and it was not that big of a deal?”

I do not know about that, I am a little bit overwhelmed but he was dead serious when he said that there was no way to learn it other than doing.

So, I flashed back to when I started building my cat house and when I was helping my father-in-law build our chicken coop, and when I built the 2,000 square-foot garden fence.

And I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh! Every single time, with one of those, I had no idea what the hell I was doing and I learned by trial and error”

Learn It Once and You Can Do It Faster Next Time

Start to Learn Doing New Things and Grow your Business


There was really no way that I would have been able to learn how to build different structures just by watching a Youtube video. 

Even though I did, however, watch Youtube videos. All I remember was watching those videos and realizing that I had no idea what the speaker was saying.

“We have to use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the slope of the roof?”, said one of those videos.

I did not know how to do that! And then, the speaker on the video started showing his solutions and I ended up totally miscalculating.

It was a huge mess. But in the end, I was able to build what I wanted simply by doing it and messing up along the way.

It was funny because I started building a retaining wall around the building pad to keep the dirt in that particular area. There was no way around it because I had to raise the ground a little bit.

I remember the first retaining walls I built. It took me two to three weeks to complete and it was frustrating because I could not get anything leveled, it was hot in the middle of summer, it sucked!

But this retaining wall was done in a day. The difference between how I build the two retaining walls is experience.

I did not know how to build a retaining wall before — I did look into the different ways to get it done, but it was not until I started doing it and felt the pain and completed the task.

Once that was done, I knew I could do it again and cut the time to finish it.

Now, I can build a retaining wall quickly. But the improvement was only possible by doing the work.

Start to Learn Doing New Things and Grow your Business

Start to Learn Doing New Things and Grow your Business


A lot of the things that push our life and business forward are things that we have never really done before.

When I talk to people who want to have Virtual Systems Architects on their team through ProSulum.com, I notice two types of people who are most interesting to me.

One, there are people who know that they have to create systems and need to delegate but have too much to do. And so, they end up not doing the initial work needed to build their systems.

Then, there are people who know that they need to build systems, they know that they need to delegate, they know that a Virtual Systems Architect would be an awesome way to get the assistance that they need. They know that it will be uncomfortable and they might need help from me or my team to figure things out. But ultimately, these people will do it anyway.

And once they start doing the work, they realize that it was much easier than what they initially thought. They get rolling and create system after system for their business.

Because they learned by just doing, these customers were able to grow more than they ever expected. So, I really want to emphasize that sometimes, you just have to go and do something because that is the only way you will learn and get better at it.

Start doing it.


What is something that you have been putting off simply because you have never done it before and you feel like you do not know where to begin?

Think about that one thing in your life or business right now that if you could just learn it and go through the pain, you just know that it is going to be beneficial.

I challenge you to do that thing right now. Do not wait, just go and do it. I know that it will make a huge difference in your life.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com. I will catch you on the next Freedom In Five Minutes podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

094 FIFM – Building Wealth With Short Term Investment Properties w/ Brandon Telesmanic

Today’s topic is something that I have been extremely interested in because I have several properties but they are all long-term leases. It is interesting because while it may be nice to get those long-term leases, there are so many more avenues to make more wealth out of the assets that you acquire in the real estate space with the revolution of short-term investment properties.

I am excited about this because I have Brandon Telesmanic who is the owner of BLT Enterprises and an expert in setting people up with short-term property investment. His great amount of experience with this particular subject is exactly the reason why I wanted to get him on Freedom In Five Minutes.

About Brandon Telesmanic

Brandon Telesmanic
Brandon Telesmanic graduated from physical therapy school when at twenty-five and lived down in Southern California — right on the beach at Newport.

He was working a few different jobs, hustling and making good money. But after living there for a few years, it became very clear to him that he was not going to be able to ever afford one of those homes that he was renting on the beach.

So, Brandon made the decision to move back to the Central Valley where he is originally from — in Fresno. He was motivated because he wanted to own a house and to start investing the money instead of spending it on rent.

Brandon’s family owns a therapy business in the Central Valley and he wanted to be part of it. For a time, everything worked itself out.

Although leaving behind a lot of friends was definitely the hardest part, Brandon returned to Fresno and was able to buy a single-family home at a very good time at the end of the market crash in 2011.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Starting a Business Against “Popular” Opinion
  • Organization is Crucial to Scaling a Business
  • How to Make Wealth in Central Valley
  • What are the Pros and Cons Between Long-Term and Short-Term Rentals?
  • Boost Your Wealth by Putting a Quality Home Out in the Market
  • Are High-Ticket Customers Key to Building Wealth?
  • Brandon’s 3 Criteria for Real Estate Investment and Boosting Your Wealth
  • Take Pride in Your Product or Service and Build Long-Term Success and Wealth

Starting a Business Against “Popular” Opinion

Starting a Business Against “Popular” Opinion

“I had started working in the family business and things were going pretty well. Later on, I was able to rent out the extra rooms in my house and pay off my mortgage. I did that for a few years and I was pretty happy with what I did,” recalled Brandon as he soon realized that he was getting a little bit older when his roommates started moving out.

Brandon was not really spending a lot of time at the house, “Looking back, it felt like I was spending about 10% of my time at home. It was then that I realized I was paying so much for the mortgage of this house yet I am underutilizing it.”

He needed to find a way so that the house was making money.

The idea was to move out and rent it out for $16,000 a month. At that time, there was a lot of news about Airbnb’s — mainly in big cities — something that was definitely not yet in Fresno.

Brandon did his research extensively and spoke with different folks in the Bay Area.

Most of the people he had spoken to said, “Who the hell is going to come to Fresno? That doesn’t really make much sense. Maybe you should just get an apartment and rent out your house. That way, you can make a little bit of money.”

And despite what most people had to say, Brandon ultimately decided to put up his home as a short-term rental.

Organization is Crucial to Scaling a Business

Organization is Crucial to Scaling a Business

Brandon’s original goal was to make a few hundred dollars from those who would be living part-time in his home. That would help him off-set his mortgage payments.

This was approximately six years ago.

Lo and behold, the place started getting booked up. It was not just one or two bookings. Regardless of what people thought in Fresno, it was very evident that there was a demand for Brandon’s short-term rental home.

The people who were renting that home short-term were not from Fresno. They were people from L.A., or San Francisco, or people from out of the state. Sometimes the people who rented were from out of the country!

Because there was so much demand, Brandon was able to put more money in the house and improve it, “I responded well to people’s feedback and that was the basis of the business. From there, I was able to continue reinvesting the money I was making from one short-term rental. I continued to remodel the home and also continued to rent it out.”

Then, Brandon got married and his wife was able to bring in a good income. She brought valuable things to the table — a serious amount of organization and they were able to scale up.

Now, Brandon and his wife have five short-term rentals with a team helping them out.

How to Make Wealth in Central Valley

How to Make Wealth in Central Valley

There is a big misconception that no one comes to Fresno or that people only utilize short-term rentals when they are going on vacation.

People ask the question, “Who comes to Fresno?”

The answer? Paying customers!

Brandon says, “Fresno has a lot of hotels. They are not the nicest hotels but they are getting booked and they are getting business. So if a town has a hotel, then most likely, a short-term rental will work on some level.”

People travel often to visit family, attend weddings, birthdays, or any fun event. The short-term rental is far more viable than renting a hotel for short stays.

“I don’t even think we have suites that could be rented out in Fresno. Short-term rentals are becoming great alternatives,” according to Brandon.

In addition to that, there is a fair amount of development in the Central Valley. There are workers that are regularly coming to the Valley and need places to stay.

So, these workers make great guests from Mondays through Thursdays. You would get every weekend booked and you would be able to put the rate insanely high on the weekends. But, who would be staying there from Monday to Thursday?

Those days would be hard to fill especially during the offseason. That is how short-term rentals can make pretty good business in places like Fresno, Visalia, or Merced.

What are the Pros and Cons Between Long-Term and Short-Term Rentals?

What are the Pros and Cons Between Long-Term and Short-Term Rentals?

How does one compare the typical long-term rental with short-term rentals?

What are the pros and cons of each one? And would short-term rentals beat out long term rentals in the long run?

It really depends on what the specific goals are. If the goal is to maximize profits then, no question, people can make a lot more money as a short-term rental.

However, there is also a difference between passive and active investment.

A long-term rental is going to be more passive. There is going to be some work up front in finding a tenant and preparing the home each time you have a turn-over. And then, you sit back and either manage it yourself or have a team manage it for you. Either way, it should not be too labor-intensive.

There are lots of potential issues with tenants that do not pay rent. The rental rights and eviction, among other things, can be a major headache as well.

“I only do short-term rentals, and these rentals are done in thirty-day increments. By doing that, the tenant would not have any rental rights,” reveals Brandon.

This is very important because owners can avoid having any squatters on their property. Also, if the tenants damage any part of the property, the owner can kick them out and that is well within their rights as the homeowner. Owners can do that if tenants do not abide by the rules.

Boost Your Wealth by Putting a Quality Home Out in the Market

Boost Your Wealth by Putting a Quality Home Out in the Market

With the short-term rentals, the homeowner has to remember that they are in the customer service business. It is like running a luxury hotel, in Brandon’s opinion.

The guests are clients that come in and the goal is to make these clients happy with their accommodation.

This means different things for each person and the owner would have to put a lot of time, money, and effort into setting up the property appropriately.

And then, the most important thing is regularly maintaining the home. Hire your own crew to help you, clean, run, and maintain these homes efficiently so that you have happy customers that are going to leave positive reviews.

In Brandon’s years of experience running a short-term rental business, he has observed, “As a long-term rental, you are not getting any reviews on your property. There is no site that I know of that is going to review single-family homes for long-term rentals. Maybe on larger apartment complexes, possibly.”

With a short-term rental business, owners have to constantly make adjustments and do everything they can to keep the customers happy. This is important in maintaining the owner’s reviews up. That is how owners are going to generate more business — through people seeing positive reviews and knowing that this home is a quality place to stay in.

Are High-Ticket Customers Key to Building Wealth?

Are High-Ticket Customers Key to Building Wealth?

The quality of homes in all the short-term rental websites has gone up over the past 3 years. Airbnb has different levels now. There is Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe. And these homes are under strict criteria of guidelines that they have to adhere to in order to achieve such status.

Before, the highest level would be something that is generated more so by reviews and less so on the actual criteria of the home.

Now, they have a ton of new ways to differentiate these homes and people have increasingly high expectations! Renters expect a high level of cleanliness and service.

Brandon says, “I think there are a lot of people that probably would not have been open to the idea of a short-term rental 4 years ago that are coming over and really want luxury accommodations.”

For sure, more customers mean more business. And high-ticket customers could take you closer to building the wealth you dream of. It is a good thing.

But remember, these types of high-ticket customers are probably more difficult to have as guests. Either way, you have to do your best, as the homeowner, to accommodate everyone and to have a high level of service across the board.

Brandon’s 3 Criteria for Real Estate Investment and Boosting Your Wealth

Brandon’s 3 Criteria for Real Estate Investment and Boosting Your Wealth

For those who want to get started with the short-term rental and already have the capital to invest in it, here is how you can start and the roadblocks to expect.

First, make the commitment for the time. Not only must you have the capital to be able to put in a downpayment on the investment property. You must also be able to put a significant amount of money into remodeling that property. 

Maybe you could buy a property that already has undergone some remodeling or already looks nice, to begin with, and you simply furnish it. And then, buy all the things that you need to run the Airbnb — like the linens and cleaning supplies.

Next, the biggest roadblock you will face is finding the correct property.

Today, the market is pretty high for Brandon, “It would be hard to find a property right now that would make sense under my criteria for something I would buy. The Fresno market is fairly saturated but if you look around the Central Valley area, like Visalia, Merced, and Bakersfield that do not have a huge number of short-term rentals but most likely there is a need in the area. That would be the market I would look at.”

Brandon’s criteria involved looking at the purchase price of a property.

The purchase price needed to make sense as a short-term rental that allows for making good profits.

Next, it needed to make sense as a long-term rental that allows for making at least $200 a month.

And last, it would need to make sense as a flip.

“If I wanted to completely get out of it altogether, I could sell the house and make a profit off of it,” says Brandon.

Take Pride in Your Product or Service and Build Long-Term Success and Wealth

Take Pride in Your Product or Service and Build Long-Term Success and Wealth

Brandon’s Five Minute Mindset Shift is believing in the product that is being put out there in the market — as opposed to putting as little money as possible in something. All while trying to get as much out of it and to do as little effort to see if it works.

Well, that may work to a certain degree. However, at some point, you have to believe in your ideas and invest the capital, the time, and ultimately be proud of what you put out there.

Get out of the mindset of trying to do something quickly and get paid quickly. Rather than having that mindset, keep the long-term goals in mind and avoid the get-rich-quick type of business.

That is how you are going to get long-term success and be able to really have pride in the product that you put out there. In the long-term, you build wealth and stability overall.

Looking back to when he was working as a physical therapist, Brandon recalls, “I felt like when I was just trying to work as many hours as I can and try to make as big of a paycheck as I can.”

The big shift for Brandon in his business was that he did not want a huge amount of hours.  He was working to be directly correlated to his income.”

So, with this type of business, it has always been about doing things the right way, setting it up appropriately, and building the business and allowing it to scale.

Once the business scaled up, Brandon was able to realize some of the larger profits and really start building wealth. 

Today, Brandon and his family are at the point where they are able to transition careers from managing this business to getting involved with commercial real estate and still do a little bit of physical therapy here and there.

But the best thing is being untied to that hourly income.


Short-term investment properties are something that is going to pave the way for the future. And Brandon is on top of it already. I am excited for anybody who starts working with him.

We are only seeing the beginning of these types of short-term rental opportunities and I believe that within the next decade or two, it is going to be a common thing and people are going to be essentially kicking themselves for not moving into this particular direction.

Resources and Links

Visit Brandon’s LinkedIn so you can reach out and work directly with him to save yourself a  lot of trouble especially when it comes to building out the systems required for short-term rental success — not just getting the property itself.

This is the end of this episode but not the end of the podcast. If you want to listen to more episodes, make sure you subscribe to Apple Podcasts, and other major podcasting platforms.

Also, visit FreedomInFiveMinutes.com if you want a Virtual Systems Architect that will take what you are doing right now and start scaling your business in as little as five minutes a day.

Do that and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes episode!

Check out this episode!

156 FIFM Podcast Episode – Always Continue to Build Your Fences

What do you want to build or grow right now? Are you focused on building things for the ones most important to you like family?

In this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, you will learn about the importance of figuring out who the important are in your life; and growing a self-sufficient system that stands the test of time that will bear fruit for the most important people in your life.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Build a Wealth of Wealth by Putting Your Business Last
  • Focus on Things You Need to Build for the Family
  • Create a Self-Sufficient System & Build True Wealth for your Family

Build a Wealth of Wealth by Putting Your Business Last

Build a Wealth of Wealth by Putting Your Business Last

We have about twenty acres on our property here in Central California. One of the things that I have been avoiding for quite a while — it was only in 2019 that I started to build more of this structure — is being focused on building my own fences.

I was not focused on building my own stuff for the family and I kept on putting it off saying, “Later. When I have this amount of money and clients, that is the only time when I will be able to build and truly focus on the stuff at home.”

Here is the thing. My thoughts were completely backward!

Once I realized that if I focused on the things that needed to be built at the house — on things that would help my family — if I focused on the things that would build up what I truly valued most other than the Babylonian squares and the fiat currency.

If I fully focused on what mattered like my family, and our home, that would bring about a wealth of wealth.

You might be thinking, “Dean, what the heck do you mean by a wealth of wealth? What are you saying? A businessman has to focus on his business.”

Well, I hate to break it to you but your business comes last. It really does come last!

Focus on Things You Need to Build for the Family.

Focus on Things You Need to Build for the Family.

A little over a year ago, I started focusing on the things that I needed to build on our home. I started building a fence around the garden when my father-in-law came over. Bless his heart, he totally helped us build a chicken coop — which is awesome.

And then, we built about five acres worth of fencing around our house. Once the whole pandemic started happening, our little garden and chicken coop provided eggs and home-grown food every day. We get almost a dozen eggs per day.

Now, if you go to the store and search for 100% organic and free-range eggs, you would be looking at $8.99 per dozen for these eggs. We get about a dozen of those per day! And being a family of 8 children, we need those eggs for our source of protein.

When the pandemic and the lockdown happened, we had a fantastic source of protein every morning. On top of that, we have our garden enclosure that I created. That brings about a nice, solid amount of greens for us.

Of course, not everyone has all of this but the point is, when you focus on the things that matter to you the most in your familial life, you will find that the external stuff does not really matter that much.

Create a Self-Sufficient System & Build True Wealth for your Family 

Create a Self-Sufficient System & Build True Wealth for your Family 

When you can grow your own food — your own source of sustenance — you are able to do so much that nobody else is able to do.

If the dollar ends up inflating, then what do you do? Or if the dollar ends up becoming worthless, then what do you do?

Focusing on the world around you — and not politics, who cares what Donald Trump and Clinton are doing? Really, who cares what anyone in politics is doing when you can focus on what you are building and growing near you?

What are you creating and growing near you?

The more that you are able to focus on what is really important, the greater the source of life, nourishment, and wealth becomes something that is right at your doorstep.

Even if you only have a little grow light in your garage, what are you growing in there with your little grow light? What are you growing and building in your house that will stand the test of time and provide fruit for your family?

I challenge you today and start thinking in that kind of mindset. The more you do, the more you will see that true wealth comes from self-sufficiency.


Have you figured out who the most important people in your life are? For most entrepreneurs, the answer would be their family.

However, not everybody is focused on building things for their family. Sometimes, business comes first and that is totally backward. Business comes last.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com and I will catch you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

155 FIFM – Build Your Special Forces Team and They’ll be There When You Need Them

Look at your business right now. Do you have processes and procedures in place that are documented step-by-step in detail? Are these documents present in your business where a small team can fall back on when they are making these decisions without you?

If not, then that is a big thing that you must start doing. In this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, Dean shares the importance of assembling a core team to back you up in business plus an extremely beneficial way to build a positive business culture.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Assembling a Team of Cats for the Acreage
  • Why is there a Need for an Elite Team of Cats?
  • Let Your Team Multiply Your Business Profits Exponentially
  • Your Core Team are the Ones Who will Help Grow Your Business
  • Foster the Idea of Being a Manager of One

Assembling a Team of Cats for the Acreage

Assembling a Team of Cats for the Acreage

Not too long ago, I built a cat house for four cats. It is their shelter where they can rest and enjoy their food or water. The openings were made to be small enough so that only the cats may get in and other predators would not be able to get to them.

It is a nice little safe haven for my four cats.

To make sure that they would stay, we locked them up in their shelter for about a week and a half. During that time, I was really worried and hoping that the cats would stay around. Obviously, they were used to their old home and they could potentially run away — never to return.

So anyway, we locked them up for a week and a half and when I opened their doors — BOOM they were gone. I was disappointed. All that work for nothing.

The thing is, you can never control them. You literally have no control over them because these cats are feral and wild.

But later that night, I went out with my headlamp and I saw eight little beady eyes staring back at me from various places. One of those places is the actual cat house.

I was so excited that they stayed on the property after all! The cats were still here on the acreage! Weeks later, I rarely ever see these guys during the day. But during the night, I see glowing eyes staring right back at me whenever I go out.

Why is there a Need for an Elite Team of Cats?

Why is there a Need for an Elite Team of Cats?

One of the reasons why we got them in the first place was because we wanted to get rid of the gophers that were showing up in our chicken coop and other parts of the property. There were also a lot of squirrels.

We would always leave the doors of the chicken coop open because we let our chickens live free-range. There are two roosters who do excellent work in keeping our 13 hens safe. But whenever I leave that coop door open, I would come back and see little holes on the ground! These holes could be gopher or mouse holes because they go in and eat the chicken feed.

No matter what I did, the gophers and mice would show up every day. I was basically feeding these rodents over time and I did not like it. So, I decided that I needed to establish some kind of control.

After we got the cats, I was hoping that they were doing something about the problem because I never saw them during the day. I do not know what they were doing and Luna would always chase the cats. However, there were so many trees and rocks to hide from Luna and from us. We just did not ever see these cats during the day.

Let Your Team Multiply Your Profits Exponentially

Let Your Team Multiply Your Profits Exponentially

Yesterday, I noticed that there were no new gopher holes in the chicken coop. We had the cats for a few weeks at this point

Normally, the gopher holes would have been an everyday occurrence. I had just realized that the last gopher hole was from two weeks ago and there had not been any new holes since.

I had not done anything differently. So, I was looking at the gopher hole thinking, “My little special forces — my little storm troopers — these cats that I cannot see during the day are gobbling up the rodents on a regular basis.”

No more squirrels, no more gophers, no more mice hanging around. We live in the country so these rodents were a pretty normal thing.

I really thought it was so cool how my cats were ravishing the countryside from rodents and I did not have to do anything special other than feeding them and give them water in their little cat house.

This is important because when you build your special force of people who are able to make decisions — to go and do things without you noticing — it creates an environment where you are multiplying the effectiveness of your business exponentially.

Your Core Team are the Ones Who will Help Grow Your Business

Your Core Team are the Ones Who will Help Grow Your Business

As a matter of fact, my team did something really interesting the other day. What happened was, a client had to cancel their service because of the COVID-19 crisis.

I know, it feels bad when a client cancels but that is just what happens in business sometimes. My core team was the ones who responded but they did so in such a professional way that they left a really good impression with the company.

That was really cool — I did not have to worry at all. I did not have to respond and create a draft. They handled it themselves.

The fact is, my team ended up creating more business for me because they were in constant communication with customers who wanted to take in more VSAs.

That was such a beautiful thing. And next, I had one of my guys tell me they had been in a call with another customer — a referral. They were communicating without me!

These things bring about additional revenue to my business which I would never have without my team because I am constantly in another corner doing my own stuff. My team is actually growing the business indirectly just by giving amazing customer support.

Foster the Idea of Being a Manager of One

Foster the Idea of Being a Manager of One

So, because I have created a work environment where I always say, “Go ahead and communicate. Do whatever you like. I will provide the food and shelter, I will provide the regular pay and fun place to work. You just go do you.”

I was able to turn my company into something that you cannot find anywhere else if you just want robots to do things for you.

Now, do not get me wrong, we have processes and procedures. However, we also foster the idea that there is a manager of one.

Make decisions. Go ahead. You are not going to get in trouble. And if something does go wrong, we will have to figure out the next steps if something was not a good decision.

But overall, my team members will not get in trouble or have someone be mad at them because they are actually doing something far more valuable — and that is thinking independently.

How are you developing and creating a culture in your business that brings these special forces to you? What are you doing that brings these people who can think independently and have the courage or ability to do things on their own so that you, the business owner, just provide the medium to get the job done?


I challenge you — if you do not have a special team right now — if you are struggling to build something like that, I challenge you to do two things.

First, get the book REWORK. It is my all-time favorite business book. Get the book, it is a very quick read but it is extremely powerful and it will help you tremendously.

Second, look at your business right now. Do you have processes and procedures in place that are documented step-by-step in detail? Are these documents present in your business where people can fall back on when they are making these decisions?

If not, then that is a big thing that you are going to have to start doing. If you already did, awesome! Keep it up. I think that it is going to be extremely beneficial to building a positive culture for your business.

Resources and Links

All that being said, this is Dean Soto, your host of Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com and I will see you again in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

154 FIFM – Diversifying and Safeguarding Everything in Your Business

You have the ability to be flexible, serve customers, and give them value if your head is not spinning during a crisis. Without fear, you can be a great leader in business, to your clients, and family. You can guide them through the storm that is happening right now.

What are your contingency plan and thought processes so that the crisis will not affect your business in the future?

In this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast, you will learn how I am able to spend more time with family during this crisis while my business thrives. This is all possible by taking steps to diversify and safeguard your business.

Overview & Episode Content

  • What are The Perks of Having Security Clearance?
  • Growing Into a More Technical Position in the Business
  • What is the Continuity of Operations in Your Business?
  • Set Your Business on the Course to be Remote-Based
  • Remote-Based Business Solutions have Been Around for a Long Time

What are The Perks of Having Security Clearance?

What are The Perks of Having Security Clearance?

And I thought, “Okay! I am going to figure this thing out,” and that was how I got involved with that company.

It was 2003 when I met her. I had a couple of credits in college on a ten-year plan, pretty much at that point. The fact was that I really did not know what I wanted to do.

It was a good thing that I joined the United States Army Reserves as an intel analyst. Because of that, I got top-secret security clearance as an intel analyst.

There is one thing you have to remember, just because a person has a top-secret security clearance, does not mean they have access to everything. What it does allow is better opportunities in big aerospace companies.

When these companies hire someone with security clearance, that person will have to sit at a desk, not able to do anything for the first few months and the company has to pay for the security clearance itself. So, that becomes pretty valuable.

It was almost better than having a degree — in my case, it definitely was. 

Growing Into a More Technical Position in the Business

Growing Into a More Technical Position in the Business

I was working for a place called DMJM Plus Harris when I started trying to figure out ways to make more money and get my college degree. DMJM Plus Harris was a civil engineering company that I was working for when I started applying at all these different companies.

One of those companies I sent my application to was a large international aerospace company.

And on the application, I said something like, “Hey I am going for my bachelor’s degree in business.”

The fact that they saw my security clearance and add the fact that I wanted to go for my bachelor’s degree was enough for them to accept my application. And so, they ended up hiring me as an industrial security specialist.

For those who do not know, an industrial security specialist is in charge of all the government regulations for top-secret facilities. This person has to make sure that these big companies are following all of the regulations.

It was a very niched thing and definitely something that I was not expecting to do. While I was working there, I ended up becoming a computer security specialist later on. That position was a more technical version of my initial job.

This was about halfway into my ten years — about 5 years — is when I went into the more technical side.

What is the Continuity of Operations in Your Business?

What is the Continuity of Operations in Your Business?

One of the things that really interested me was the concept of continuity planning of the project, the company, and the program we are supporting.

The continuity of operations is the kind of contingencies that are in place in the organization — be it technically, administratively, or personnel-wise — it is a whole bunch of factors to consider when disaster happens.

These disasters could be a natural disaster or a man-made disaster. No matter the cause, the question to consider is, “What kind of  contingency do you have in place?”

I was not a big nerd that was totally all up in the technicalities when it came to keeping an organization going. However, I was and still am, interested in the high-level ideas and the structure of setting up an organization so that when a disaster strikes, the business is still able to keep moving.

So, are we in a disaster right now? Yes.

Our people and companies are freaking out in their particular positions right now. Companies are highly interested in the continuity of operations right now.

When I was still employed at the aerospace company, what do you think they thought of when it came to the continuity of operations? Everything was doing great and doing fine. So, they were treating everything as an expense that they can worry about later.

Guess what? That was exactly the way for almost every company. “Let us just make money now and we can worry about all that stuff later. Because that is really just an expense right now.”

Set Your Business on the Course to be Remote-Based

Set Your Business on the Course to be Remote-Based

What do you think is happening to those companies without contingency plans as we speak? They are closing their doors, closing their businesses in general, trying to figure out how to work remotely, and trying to figure out how to create continuity in their business or save their lives right now.

The thing is, a lot of these solutions do not have to be difficult!

If you have been listening to this podcast for a while, then you know that the one thing we always talk about is how to automate your business in five minutes a day — or less.

You might be thinking, “Dean, their organization is really complicated and complex. There is a lot that goes into their stuff.”

The technical input of their stuff can be complex, yes. However, the strategy and the thought process of continuity, the planning of operations, is not difficult.

I honestly get tired of people who make things more difficult than they already are. Despite the fact that we have had the ability to implement these solutions for two decades now, everyone today is trying to figure out how to create a remote-based set up for employees. If you are able to do that during this crisis, then you could have done it beforehand. 

All you had to do was plan it out, “As this business goes forward, we will figure out how to do things remotely. As time goes on, we will spend time to figure out what works and what does not.”

It is not something that is hard to think about and it sets your business on the course to start working remotely. Now, people are thinking about how to reduce fixed costs of where they do business.

Remote-Based Business Solutions have Been Around for a Long Time

Remote-Based Solutions have Been Around for a Long Time

The shared workspace concept has been around for a long time. Another thing that has been around for quite a bit is the ghost kitchen. Guess which ones are doing really well in the food industry right now? Those who have taken up ghost kitchens — restaurants who subscribe to ghost kitchens and have their food delivered or catered.

Now, businesses are wondering how to outsource overseas and reduce the costs of labor. Here in the U.S., rates are as high as $15.00 per hour for entry-level people. Outsourcing has been around for over a decade on a large-scale! 

But if these simple questions were asked on a regular basis and in the minds of thought leaders within the business, guess what would have happened over time? All of this stuff would have been implemented long ago.

Those who thrive right now are those who outsource, those who work remotely, those who have figured out and reduced their fixed costs, those who have set up remote capabilities for their businesses.

Today, businesses are wondering, “How do I create standard operating procedures so everyone in my business knows what to do? I had to lay off half of my people and now, the people that remained have no idea what to do. They were the higher-ups who never had to do these tactical things in a long time.”

Businesses who thought about this stuff and started implementing over time are the ones who are thriving right now. Thought becomes action.

For me, I will be looking to buy some businesses that were retarded during this tough time. And turn them around, flip them, or keep them as a cash flow investment.


The thing is, despite these contingencies as being “costs”, and not sounding sexy, I have spent more time with family during this crisis, I have the ability to serve my customers, be flexible, and give them value.

In fact, right after this recording, I have a strategy call with one of my customers about their next moves during this time.  Some customers needed financial help, some customers needed other types of help. 

Because my head is not spinning and I’m not scared, I can be a good leader to my clients and family and guide them through this storm that is currently happening.

Now that you are in this storm, what are the things that you are going to constantly have as your mission and thought process so that this stuff does not affect your business in the future?

I want you to start planning. Write it down, it is very simple. And then, use those as your guidepost, use them as your north star for the future that is going to be a brand new world up ahead.

Contingency plans may not sound sexy. But the fundamental thing about them is that these solutions will allow your business to be protected over time.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com if you want a Virtual Systems Architect that will help you during times just like these to keep your business moving forward. Go check them out.

Until then, I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

153 FIFM – Your Leaves may be Green But Those are Not Leaves

If you have had people in your life that you thought were life-giving and genuinely green leaves but in reality are mistletoes that suck the life out of you or your business, then listen to this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes.

Today, you will learn that not all green leaves are life-giving and learn the best ways to deal with mistletoe-types of people in your life and business.

Overview & Episode Content

  • The Struggles of Looking for a Better and Bigger Home
  • Finding a New Home with Greener Leaves
  • Those are Not Oak Tree Leaves, Those are Mistletoes!
  • There are Mistletoes in Your Life That You Think are Life-Giving Green Leaves
  • Cutting Off the Mistletoe in Your Business by Being Honest
  • Nurture the Green Leaves in Your Life

The Struggles of Looking for a Better and Bigger Home

The Struggles of Looking for a Better and Bigger Home

We lived in Orange County for a long time. Back when we only had 6 kids, we were living in a 1,800 square-foot house on a 7,000 square-foot lot. Having six kids in there was tough!

By that time, we have already spent three years looking for other places to move. Buena Park was nice — we had paid a lot for our home there. It was at the top of the market back when we bought it in 2005. We wanted to move at one point but the market crash happened and we had to stick with Buena Park. we weren’t able to move.

It actually ended up well because we were able to sell our house for a lot more than what we originally paid for. However, we had a hard time finding a place because I wanted to move out of state — out of California.

My wife has her family here. I have my family here in California as well but I am definitely less attached to my family than she is. Even moving an hour away — at the time when we first started looking — was a really big deal. So, we started looking at various places that were about an hour and a half away. We just could not find anything.

Anything else that we did find, the doors were just closing and closing. So, we spent so much time looking that I got frustrated. My wife did not want to move too far. So, it was another hurdle. We even went to counseling because we just could not agree.

Finding a New Home with Greener Leaves

Finding a New Home with Greener Leaves

Later on, we went on a family trip to Idaho — which was 13 hours away. Part of the family trip was to look at houses.

It was funny because before we went on this family trip, her parents were like, “Oh my gosh, you’re moving an hour and a half away? I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to see you.”

So, we went on a family trip to Idaho to look at houses that were 13 hours away. When we got back, her parents were like, “Oh yeah, 4 hours away is not that bad as long as it’s not 13.”

They changed their tune really quick when they thought that their daughter was going to be 13 hours away. That was so funny.

Later on, there was one trip that came up where my wife could not go. It was just me and my son. We drove up here and looked around and we found this 20-acre property that we are at right now. 

Our house is up on the hill and it gets so green some time in winter and all throughout spring. And then, everything is brown for the rest of the time. It looks like Narnia in the spring, it is so beautiful.

When we got here, we walked around and noticed a ton of oak trees around the property. I was looking at them and really appreciated all the green on the property. I thought it was absolutely amazing.

Those are Not Oak Tree Leaves, Those are Mistletoes!

Those are Not Oak Tree Leaves, Those are Mistletoes!

I forgot who said this but right after we moved, someone said, “Those are not leaves. Those are mistletoes.”

I was surprised at this, “What? Really?!”

“Yeah, it’s just pretty much killing that tree. And that tree is probably almost dead,” they said.

And it blew my mind! I did not know that mistletoe is thriving in this area. There were big bunches of green on some trees that almost looked like they were dying. There was greenery on dying trees.

While it might look like they were beautiful leaves, giving beautiful life to the tree. No. That beautiful green was giving life to the mistletoe only as it sucked the life out of the oak tree that had been there for years. Not very nice; not very fun.

Mistletoe sucks. So, I wondered how to get rid of them aside from using nasty chemicals. The most effective way to get rid of them was to cut off the infested branches. The infected branches needed to be cut back by a foot. Otherwise, the mistletoe would grow back on the tree because the infestation was rooted inside the branch.

So, while this might seem like it was a life-giving symbiotic relationship, that mistletoe was eating and feeding like a vampire — sucking the life out of that tree. It would have taken several years, but that tree would eventually die.

Do you know what would happen to that mistletoe after it had given off seeds? That mistletoe would die as well. You would start to see it turning brown and die off.

There are Mistletoes in Your Life That You Think are Life-Giving Green Leaves

There are Mistletoes in Your Life That You Think are Life-Giving Green Leaves

Not all of my oak trees have them, thankfully. The strong ones were able to fight them off.

Now that you are thoroughly saddened for my oak trees, why is this important? This is important because you have people in your life — clients, friends, family members — that look good and green. They look like they are giving you life, they make you feel good, and you think that it is a symbiotic relationship.

In reality, they are slowly sucking the life out of you.

Have you ever had that one client who paid you a lot of money so you can help them out with one thing but you have it in your gut, “It is probably not the best client to have right now.”

That money might have been great but they constantly bug you and talking smack on you even though you are giving good service. They are taking up a ton of your time and doing a whole mess of stuff that is just sucking the life out of you slowly.

It is those individuals — while they look like beautiful green leaves in the tree of your social circle — that need to be cut out.

Cutting Off the Mistletoes in Your Business by Being Honest

Cutting Off the Mistletoes in Your Business by Being Honest

A great way of cutting off people like those is to be simply honest with them. Be as honest as possible. 

When you are honest with them, a lot of times, they cut themselves out. There have been numerous times where I have had to say, “Hey, I don’t think a Virtual Systems Architect is right for you. You’re not following the system, you are not making the videos, and you are not doing the five minutes a day that is required. So, I think it’s probably best that we cancel and refund.”

One of two things will happen.

The ones who are not mistletoe would say, “Oh my God. I am so sorry. It’s my bad. I really need to take some time to make this happen. I see what you are saying and I will make it happen.”

You have those good kinds of customers.

On the other hand, you will have customers who will say, “Yeah, you know what? Give me a refund.”

BOOM! And yeah, it hurts a little bit. Of course, it does. Anytime you cut someone off — it is going to hurt. But what happens when you cut off a branch from a fruit tree? You end up getting more fruit.

Nurture the Green Leaves in Your Life

Nurture the Green Leaves in Your Life

I cannot tell you how many times I thought, “Gosh this sucks. I wish I did not have to cut this person off or cancel this person. Right now, I wish that one bad customer would turn into six additional great customers — ones that love what we are doing and know how valuable this is.”

That is what happens when you prune the mistletoes in your life. If you let them be, eventually they will suck your business so dry that you might end up not having a business anymore. Those are the types of people who want to do lawsuits as well.

Even though you have given them a ton of value and they failed to use the system because they wanted to do it their own way, they did not get what they expected even though they got the benefits. And then, they start nitpicking and start suing.

So, I challenge you — I know this is hard. It is hard for me too.

I challenge you to see who your worst and best clients are and do a little something for your best clients. And possibly cut off those clients, friends, or other people in your life who you know are mistletoes.


You may be wondering, “But Dean, what If these mistletoes are friends and family? What’s a good way to cut them off?”

A simple way to cut them off is to simply stop talking and interacting with them. That is all you have to do to be rid of mistletoe among friends and family. But nurture and care for the genuinely green leaves in your life because those people are valuable. You will grow with them and they will grow with you.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, founder of Freedom In Five Minutes. If you have not subscribed to the podcast, go to Google.com and search for “Freedom In Five Minutes”. You will find us on all major podcasting platforms such as Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts to name a few. Find us there, subscribe, and leave a review if you like the podcast!

If you want a Virtual Systems Architect and want to systemize and automate your business in just five minutes a day at way less than the minimum wage here in California, go to FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com.

Go do that and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!