142 FIFM – How to Deal with Aggressive and Unfriendly Customers

Nobody likes to deal with terrible customers. But the fact is, businesses will always have these bad types of customers especially service-based businesses.

For old-timer business owners, I’m sure they know this well and probably have a system in place to handle these types of customers. But what about the business owners who have just started out?

This episode of The Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast is all about aggressive and unfriendly customers, why businesses never run out of them, how to avoid them, and the best ways to deal with them.

If you are a business owner who has bad customers that have stressed you out, listen in and you just might learn a few things that could take your business to the next level!

Overview & Episode Content

  • Why Do Businesses Never Run Out of Bad Customers?
  • The Best Way to React to Bad Customers
  • Top Lessons on Dealing with Bad Customers
  • What are the Types of People You Want to Work With?
  • How Important is Customer Communication?
  • The Problem with Bad Customers Falls on the Business Owner

Why Do Businesses Never Run Out of Bad Customers?

Why Do Businesses Never Run Out of Bad Customers?

I think that it is safe to say that no business owners — in their right mind — would say that aggressive and unfriendly customers are their favorites. The fact is that business owners never run out of these types of customers, especially in the service industry.

As a matter of fact, I have one customer in particular who took a long time to come on board. Part of the reason why they took so long was that they were in the older generation and were very old-school.

During the sales call, they were impressed with the idea of having Virtual Systems Architects in their team and the potential impact on scaling their business. It was all roses and butterflies.

Next, they were in the process of being introduced to our Virtual Systems Architect. But throughout the onboarding calls and process, these customers have been very adversarial.

My general manager does all of the onboarding calls. And part of these calls are recommendations of tools that we think really help with communication and project management. These tools are also what we use and enjoy at Pro Sulum.

What happened was these customers did not want these tools that we highly recommended to be used along with our VSA. They were old school and uninterested in bringing any more new stuff to their system.

Now, the irony was that the reason why they needed a VSA in the first place was because of the fact that they were old school and they needed to do things better and do things in a much more effective way to scale their business.

The Best Way to React to Bad Customers

The Best Way to React to Bad Customers

Another unfriendly customer we had in Pro Sulum was someone who used multiple domains when sending emails to us. Now, it is important to remember that we always have an influx of customers over here at Pro Sulum.

And to keep up with that influx of different customers, we use a project management tracker for all our customers. And naturally, my general manager assumed that the email domain that the customer used was their business name.

So, when the VSA was introduced to this customer, they immediately shot back saying that it was the wrong business name and demanding that the VSA best be aware of the correct business they are working for.

Another customer refused to give our VSA vacation days and holiday leaves. Our VSAs are human beings too! Virtual System Architects are people who have lives and families just like everybody else.

It made me wonder where all these bad customers come from.

Before, my reaction to all of this would have been to shoot back and email them, “Hey buddy, listen. If you want to work with us, you gotta stop being a jerk and follow our system.”

I defend my guys fiercely. My initial reaction would be to defend everyone who works for me. But the best thing that I have learned to do is to simply wait a few hours before responding.

Top Lessons on Dealing with Bad Customers

Top Lessons on Dealing with Bad Customers

I fiercely defend the people who work for me. But the worst way to deal with aggressive and unfriendly types of people is to respond right away at a time when everyone is very emotional and volatile. Wait a few hours. Do not let your emotions get to you.

The second best thing I have learned to do is to let my guy handle these customers.

I do not want to come in swinging if my guy handles the situation and wants to handle it. I want him to be able to get the skills necessary to quell situations like these. It is never fair for him if I jump in all the time.

And lastly, I can easily develop a process specially made for these types of scenarios. If someone is being aggressive, there are things that I always include in the emails small things like, “Oh I understand.” or “Your point is valid.”

The fact is that a lot of the time, you do not know what is going on with these bad customers. They might be going through something personal and they are excited to get started despite all the personal stuff that is going on in their lives.

What are the Types of People You Want to Work With?

What are the Types of People You Want to Work With?

In fact, right now, I sound wonderful and happy-go-lucky but I have had a pretty rough day. My days this week sucked — just to be completely honest. And that is why my bad days kind of bleed through to my podcast because I wanted to have a negative topic where I can vent through.

It is going to bleed into my business too. Even with Paul, my business partner, I apologized to him today for my short answers to everything in our business chat because I’m having a bad day. It’s only natural that our personal stuff bleeds into everything that we do.

So, you don’t know what’s going on in a bad customer’s life.

The next most important question to ask is this, “Are they the kind of people that you want to work with?”

They might have gone through all your hoops, they might have looked amazing and great clients that you are super excited to work with. But then, things changed. Do you really want to work with these people?

I have fired many customers over the years and I have no problem telling a customer to go away because I would rather not work with them, give them back their money, and cancel everything than to be in a bad business relationship with someone.

How Important is Customer Communication?

How Important is Customer Communication?

The next question to ask is, did you do something wrong? Did you do something that is outside of your process? Have you done something to upset the customers?

Do not be afraid to ask. Most of the time, especially with email, there is no intonation and emotional context. You cannot tell how someone is talking. They might be a little sarcastic and tongue in cheek but the way that you read it might seem like they are being nasty.

You can always ask, “Hey, is there something wrong? It sounds like you might be upset with how things are going. Do you have any questions or is there anything that I can help with?”

Feel free to ask. There is nothing wrong with asking. It makes you a better person anyway.

Remember, email is very deceptive. You do not know what someone sounds like through email. People do not have the ability yet to have any type of intonation through email. So, things can be misconstrued big time.

Now, I am not saying that they could totally be aggressive and they could truly be customers who are not a good fit but you have to keep in mind that emails are very deceptive.

I remember when I was working with Boeing. There were times when people would send me an email and I thought the sender was a jerk. It turned out that it was not their intention to be mean after all.

Boeing is a huge company and everyone in there uses email to communicate back and forth.

The fact is, it can be very difficult to tell how someone is coming across through email. To me, email is a great medium for quick facts but not so great for long-winded communications.

The Problem with Bad Customers Falls on the Business Owner

The Problem with Bad Customers Falls on the Business Owner

Finally, see that the problem with aggressive customers usually falls on you, the business owner.

Do you really, truly want a customer in a specific industry, belonging to a specific age, gender, etc…? With the way that you do your lead generation, are you simply trying to get just any customer? Are you trying to simply get as much money as possible without discriminating?

When it comes to business and customers, I love to be discriminating.

In this particular case with the old-school clients, I was a little hesitant with them and I should have gone with my gut.

People who are of an old-school mindset are not a good fit for me. In the old way of doing business, nothing gets documented. Information simply gets brain dumped on staff members. These types of business owners do not do well with the things we do at Pro Sulum.

I weed these customers out as fast as possible because nothing good ever comes out of the relationship with them. These types of customers can cause your business growth to become retarded and the last thing I want for my business.

Our process is simple — record your process five minutes a day and let the VSA document it for you. After that, the VSA can do the task! This simple system can give you massive results. 

And so, I have no hesitation in saying, “You’ll have great results 99% of the time if you follow our system. If you don’t, 99% of the time it’s going to suck for you. If you want to be old school and wanna do things the old way, go somewhere else. Go find a Virtual Assistant and waste 6 months training them. Fail. Waste another 6 months and end up back on square one.”


You might not agree with me and think that I am being mean. But I am not. This is better for both parties. I will not be wasting their time, and they will not be wasting mine.

If customers do not understand your business system, I really do not see the point in having the relationships continued.

Make sure that you have a good process of weeding out bad clients. Why is this important? It is important because you want to work with people who are a good match for you and you enjoy working with them.

To be honest, I have stepped away from businesses and products simply because I did not like 90% of the people who buy these things. I simply did not like the industry.

There are products that do really well but I stepped away from them anyway because I would rather focus on working with people that match well with me.

In fact, even in Pro Sulum and Freedom In Five Minutes, there are specific industries that I do not like serving. One of those industries is the financial services because it is such an old-school market that I’m pretty sure about shutting off soon. I only have a few of those types of clients left that are great customers. Only 99% of financial services and advisors are not great clients for me. And I do not want to be a part of it.

“Are you losing money by being picky with clients?” one might wonder.

Yes, but I am going to pick it up somewhere else. I am going to have a banquet table somewhere else and I will enjoy it. Most importantly, I will get to work with the people I like working with and who like working with me.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, your host of The Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. There is a lot of cool stuff there such as business process scorecards and a masterclass.

Also, visit ProSulum.com. And if you try to leave the site and move your mouse up, you will get a pop up that grants you access to a 4-part video course that is pretty cool.

Check out this episode!

141 FIFM – Making Your Business as Easy as Possible to Operate

I built a system of Virtual Systems Architects out of a necessity to get things done in as little time and effort as possible. And that resulted in my building a business around that system of VSAs.

In as little as 5 minutes a day, anyone can build business processes with the help of a VSA. It is super easy! But I did not achieve this growing and thriving business overnight.

I got my business to where it is today because I have been closely applying three key principles. So, listen to this episode and find out what these three principles are and it might just help propel your business to the next level.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Dean Soto Walks through Gates of Entrepreneurship
  • Running a Business The Easy Way
  • Your Main Business Activity has to be Done Online
  • Find an Easy Recurring Income as the Main Source of Revenue
  • Utilize as Many Tools or Strategies to Help Make Your Tasks Easy to Do

Dean Soto Walks through the Gates of Entrepreneurship

Dean Soto Opens the Gates to Entrepreneurship

If you follow this podcast, then you know that I was in corporate before having this entrepreneurial lifestyle that I enjoy today. I was an IT consultant when my wife wanted to stay at home and care for the kids full-time. So, I went and figured out a way to make that possible for us.

I ended up taking a course by Ramit Sethi called “Earn 1K”. And it was awesome. That course propelled me to the next phase of my journey — which was full-on entrepreneurship.

Then, I found myself sitting on a small desk in my home office — which had too much extra space, by the way. And I was working on my computer to post my ad online. Back then, this was a side-hustle while maintaining my full-time work.

The ad was IT related and I ended up getting two clients. Dealing with the first client was a silly experience. I remember an old lady who was trying to find the “Any” key. Some programs would prompt the user to press any key to proceed. So, I told her to press a random button. And that was it!

The second client was much more interesting. She was a stay-at-home mom who had a computer that stopped working. I had to take her computer home because when I went over to her house to try and fix it on the spot, I simply did not have the tools.

Although it was just a $50 job, it took me more than 8 hours to get it fixed. My customer was so happy to have it fixed that she paid me $120 instead. It was nice but I could not keep doing that.

“There has to be a better and easier way to do business,” I thought.

Running a Business the Easy Way

Running a Business the Easy Way

Now, although I had one happy customer, I thought to myself that I cannot keep doing this thing where I had to go through so much effort for $50 and on top of that, maintain the full-time job that I have, as well.

So, that’s when I started really moving things to a path where things must become as easy to do as humanly possible. And business is no exception.

I continued on with building a business. And in no time, I started utilizing WordPress and teaching people how to start building websites. I started moving my business in a direction where I can help people do stuff online — erasing the need for me to be physically present with them in order to be of help.

Developing that kind system early on allowed me to work from anywhere. Also, it allowed me to hire people who can do the work for me.

My goal the whole time was to make my business as simple as possible. I needed to reach a point where I no longer do most of the minutiae of tasks that a lot of business owners do. And this is the key advantage I had on my competitors.

Your Main Business Activity has to be Done Online

Here are three key principles that I apply in any business that I personally create or am involved in. Now, this is not to toot my own horn. I am sharing these key principles in the hopes of helping you grow and scale your business.

The first principle is to do your main business activities online.

Now, these activities could be consulting calls through Zoom. It could even be doing normal phone calls or remotely connecting to someone’s computer. Whatever that main business activity may be, it has to be done online.

Okay, I know that not every business can do this. I am speaking directly to those husbands who want to be able to maintain their full-time jobs but also to do other things on the side. I am mainly speaking to those types of people who want to start their business as a side-hustle.

Remember, it has to be done online. That way, you are able to work from anywhere at any point in time.

For example, I want to be able to go on vacation and if something ever comes up, I can handle it. Or if it is in the morning on the West Coast for me but my customer is on the East Coast, then I can do things early in the morning to benefit my customer.

I do not want to be working all the time. The best-case scenario is to have the freedom to work at any time and anywhere.

Find an Easy Recurring Income as the Main Source of Revenue

Find an Easy Recurring Income as the Main Source of Revenue

The second principle is to set your business to have at least one recurring income as its main source of revenue.

So, one of my services is operations and systems consulting. I go in and spend as little time as possible to look at the operations of businesses. And then, I fix their systems so they are able to make a lot more money.

Once these businesses have unlocked the barriers that prevent them from earning more, they are able to pay me more. And it is great to get that influx of cash.

However, once that deal is done, then it is done. The fact is, it is not a good place to be if you are constantly looking for new business and clients.

Your business has to have recurring income. With ProSulum.com, for example, I have my VSAs. Now, this network of VSAs is my recurring income. They constantly give value to my customers, but at the same time, customers can also hire me directly to do consulting for their business.

There is nothing wrong with having an influx of sales from each transaction. But the time and effort dedicated to searching for new clients just to maintain a steady stream of revenue are wasted when you could have that on autopilot if only you develop a recurring income.

It is a hard business to be always returning back to zero. The fact is, that type of business model becomes very hard to sell later on.

Utilize as Many Tools or Strategies to Help Make Your Tasks Easy to Do

Utilize as Many Tools or Strategies to Help Make Your Tasks Easy to Do

The final key principle is utilizing as many tools or strategies that help you do less. And it might sound obvious at first but business owners can easily miss this when focused on the minutiae of tasks involved in running the business.

Early on, I started working with subcontractors. I paid them through online cheques and digital banking. Everything was great until January the following year when I needed to send 1099s to all of them. And it sucked for me because of the amount of time it required to do.

After I consulted with my CPA, I found a way to get around sending 1099. You can pay via PayPal or some other electronic means. That means that I don’t have to send 1099s if I pay my subcontractors electronically. But be sure to consult with your CPA as well for this.

The fact is, it saved me a ton of time and heartache every January. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! I use ASANA — a project management system that I use to track projects for free. I use Slack for communications — also free. Also, I use Whatsapp for communications as well, which is also free.

These things allow you to move and do things quicker than your competitors. It allows you to scale without using things like email because emails get lost. I just had a client who did not notice that they got an important email.

Always try to find the easy way out. And this is not about being lazy. This is about doing things the most effective way possible in as little time and effort so you can focus on more important things.

The goal is to do more with as little time and effort as possible.


That is why our VSA customers can build processes in 5 minutes. They can literally turn on their video, shoot their process, send it over to the VSA, document it, and then the customer never has to do it again. It is that simple and easy.

And this came about because I wanted the easy way of doing things for me! So, those are the three principles I apply that have propelled me to this thriving and growing business that I get to enjoy today.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, your host, and founder of FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. Thanks for listening to this episode and I will catch you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast Episode.

Check out this episode!

140 FIFM – Take the Time to Take in Some Beauty

The work that you do is important. Of course, it is, but sometimes, we become too focused on our career and goals towards more beautiful things. This is true, especially for men.

The thing is, you are already surrounded by beauty and blessings. If you don’t see them, you might need to take a break. Stop and take stock of your surroundings.

In this episode, I share an experience I had with family that served as a powerful reminder that, already, I am exactly where God needs to be. 

Overview & Episode Content

  • Where is the Value in Time Spent Watching a Dance?
  • Find the Time to See Beauty in Simple Things
  • You are Given Exactly What You Need at Exactly the Right Time
  • Learn to Be Grateful for the Beauty Bestowed Around You

Where is the Value in Time Spent Watching a Dance?

Where is the Value in Time Spent Watching a Dance?

My wife, four older kids, and I went to see Shen Yun. If you do not know, Shen Yun is a US-based non-profit performing arts and entertainment company that tours internationally to perform five-thousand-year-old classical Chinese dance, ethnic dance, solo musicians, and operatic singing.

Let me just say though, the tickets were not cheap. Essentially, it was almost like going on a mini-vacation when it came to the cost of the ticket purchase and the overnight babysitter fees. There were a lot of different things involved just so we can watch Shen Yun.

So, the show was set to start at 7:30 in the evening. We thought we had more than enough time to collect the babysitter who was an hour away. And then, we ended up running a tight schedule as we were about to be late for the show.

“Why are we even doing this?” my kids would say. Everybody was getting frustrated, the ride towards the show was stifling!

It got me thinking, “Man, I could have used this day for work.”

I know the value of spending time with my family. But what is really the value of spending time watching a dance?

Find the Time to See Beauty in Simple Things

Find the Time to See Beauty in Simple Things

By the grace of God, we arrived at the theatre just in the nick of time. We went in and found our seats. And then, as we settled down in our seats, I was preparing myself for a two-hour major torment.

But when the curtains were finally raised up, I was instantly blown away by the sheer beauty of the whole production. From the backdrop to the costumes, to the performances everything was just beautiful. I looked at my family and they too were wide-eyed in amazement.

This show was so cool! The performers had these exquisitely colourful costumes that seemed to flow like water or flutter like flames. And their movements were very expressive.

The men danced in the air doing flips, jumps, and somersaults. Their dance was very masculine but at the same time, graceful. And the women on stage almost seemed to float in their dance. They were very elegant yet precise in their movements. Watching them perform, time seemed to slow down. It was a magical experience.

As I was sitting there with my family totally in awe of the whole performance. It was then that I realized something valuable. I realized that this experience was doing something positive to my soul.

You are Given Exactly What You Need at Exactly the Right Time

You are Given Exactly What You Need at Exactly the Right Time

Experiences with businesses are very numbers-based. Sometimes, these experiences are even based on patterns and systems.

Our experience watching Shen Yun was purely based on beauty, art, and expression. The thing is, it really hit me hard and it touched my soul. It almost felt like my first sip of water after being thirsty for so long.

Watching the show sparked something in me. It inspired me to be more productive today. Now, I am much more motivated to do more, enjoy the blessing that I have right now, and to just take in the work that I’ve done at this moment. This is how I have felt for the rest of the week after watching Shen Yun.

If you have been following the Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast, then you already know that I am a Chrisitan. So, if you are listening to this episode and you do not agree with me, you can go ahead and turn this off. But this is what I believe. 

I had this feeling that God is putting this in my heart, “I’m going to give you what you need. Just don’t worry about anything else.”

If I look back at my life’s history, He has given me exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. And at this point in time, what I needed was beauty.

Learn to Be Grateful for the Beauty Bestowed Around You

Learn to Be Grateful for the Beauty Bestowed Around You

That beauty in the Shen Yun dance performance reminded me of the beauty that already surrounds me. I have my family. We are living blissfully on a 20-acre land — this beautiful land that we have been living on for three years now.

I was working so much to have as much money as I can so we can keep living the lifestyle that we enjoy. But, I was never truly enjoying the beauty that is around me. After watching the dance, I was finally able to appreciate all the beauty that was given to me.

Each of us is in a place where we are meant to be. That is such a beautiful thing. But most of the time, we do not stop and appreciate the fact that we are exactly where we need to be at the moment. This is true, especially for men!

Looking at the land we are on right now, we have neighbours whose houses we can barely see on the other hills. And you know what? I talk to these neighbours a lot. This is so unlike when we were living in a cul de sac before. Back then, I only knew four neighbours out of twenty.

If I would have just taken the time to appreciate where I was and took the time to get to know who my neighbours were, imagine what that would have done to my soul? Imagine how everyday life would be when all your neighbours know who you are?

Now, to be fair, you may not like some of your neighbours. But hey, at least then you know who you don’t like.

Change your perspective. It is important to see where you are and the gifts around you. Everything around you is beautiful.


What can you do right now to express a little gratitude and appreciation? I challenge you to take in all the beauty around you and just be grateful. Find some way of showing gratitude for the beauty in life that you get to enjoy every day.

I promise it will help you get at least a day of joy, peace, and love that you otherwise would not be doing because like me, I wanted and I desired more without stopping to appreciate and be grateful for everything that I have.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. There is a lot of amazing stuff in there. You will love it.

If you want a Virtual Systems Architect where you can scale your entire business in as little as five minutes a day, go check out ProSulum.com and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

139 FIFM – Sometimes You Have to Go with the Flow

There are many kinds of waves that flow in and come crashing on your life. “That’s life,” so they say.

And life is riddled with waves — these are tests. For only in life’s challenges will we find progress. You will realize the true meaning of these challenges as you grow older.

Overview & Episode Content

  • What is Your Wave in Life and How to Flow with It?
  • Make the Most Out of the Wave You are On
  • Cherish the Flow of the Moment

What is Your Wave in Life and How to Flow with It?

What is Your Wave in Life and How to Flow with It?

The last few weeks have been interesting. Finally, 2020 has begun to show signs that it is a pretty amazing year!

And I’m not sure if this is because of the numerical value of 2020, that we are able to see clearly and that it will be one of those years that bring a lot of joy. You may not agree with me, but I believe that 2020 is a great year for business — and for waves, as I like to call them.

In life, we are sent waves to ride on. We are supposed to wait for these waves to come, and when they arrive, we ride on them and go with the flow.

I know what you are thinking, “What the heck is Dean talking about?”

One of the books that my daughter and I are reading just about every night is Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. It is the second book of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and, by far, my favorite in the series.

The second book talks about trust. Trust that whatever waves God sends our way, they are sent for a reason. And that God would never send us anything that is meant to harm us.

Make the Most Out of the Wave You are On

Make the Most Out of the Wave You are On

If you stop, look around and take stock of where you were, and where you are now. You’ll notice that there are a lot of waves that you’ve ridden. And most Probably, there are a lot of waves that you refused to ride.

The thing is, these waves were sent especially for you to ride on. It is such a wasted opportunity to refuse the flow of blessings given to you. These waves were meant for you to flow through.

I used to get frustrated, flustered, and angry that my business was not growing faster. And then, I started complaining and comparing myself to other businesses.

My mistake was forgetting about the blessings I already have! I have a business that lets me work anytime, anywhere. This business is already thriving!

My wave is spending more time with family or building a cat house on our acreage. Do I refuse to flow on that wave and instead, do payroll or hiring more staff for my business? No. I trust and ride the wave sent especially for me.

Cherish the Flow of the Moment

Cherish the Flow of the Moment

If you look closely in life, the lands “swim” here because God sends people waves. And although there is a wave meant for you, it is you who have the power to choose whether you want to ride them or not. People are designed to have free will, we are not robots. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

If you have ever done any time of boogie boarding or surfing, then you know that you cannot force waves. You can catch them but you cannot make them. At least in natural bodies of water, you cannot make them. And it is you who make the choice whether to ride the wave or refuse it.

So, what wave is being sent to you right now? Are they waves in your family or business? I dare you to catch that wave and start riding or flowing with it. 

Now, it may seem completely foreign that my wave is building a cat house. But, it’s what I am being called to do. So, I am doing it and I am having great results.

What is the wave that is being sent to you right now? I challenge you to catch that wave and ride it. Flow with it.


Have you figured your wave — what you are called to do? Are you flowing with the wave sent especially for you?

Trust that God sends nothing but good things for you and ride the waves of life. I promise you will see great results.

Resources and Links

In this episode, I mentioned Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. It is the second book of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and, by far, my favorite in the series.

Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and Prosulum.com. There is a ton of great information in there — masterclasses and courses.

In fact, you may want to get a Virtual Systems Architect. Someone who can literally clone you and scale your business extremely quickly. Go check out my websites and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast.

Check out this episode!

138 FIFM – Don’t Be Afraid of Your Special Skill

Each of us has strengths. Your strength is a God-given skill that is unique to you. But despite that, you may not be fully utilizing and embracing your gift. That skill is a part of you and has gotten you farther in life. It is high time to embrace your gift!

In this episode of The Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast, we talk about the unique gifts that have been given to us for a reason. We must have the courage to step out, help people with our God-given gifts, and discover for ourselves why we have such talents.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Go Against the Status Quo
  • My Special Skill in Action Without Even Realizing It
  • Is Your Unique Skill A Blessing or A Burden?
  • Take Advantage of Your God-Given Skills
  • Use Your Skills to Help Those Who Need It

Go Against the Status Quo

Go Against the Status Quo

As of recording, the cover of the Freedom In Five Minutes book has been completed. And then, as I am going through the editing process of the book. It is funny how I thought I was finally done, that the book just needs a few minor edits. I have never been so wrong in my life! It was then that I realized the huge amount of editing I have to do.

As I was looking through all of the chapters, “Wait what? What was I saying here? Why did I say it that way? Do I speak English?”

I realized that all the magic happens in the editing and paring down. It is not easy writing a book. But hopefully, it gets published by the time this episode comes out. And now, I might even give free copies through my FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. I am pretty excited.

The reason why I brought up the book is that part of it was based around this particular subject that I will talk about.

Growing up, I have always been a little troublesome in the sense of not following the status quo and not doing things the way my grandmother would want me to do. I always did it in my own way. That is my special skill.

Sometimes, people will flip out at me. “You’re supposed to go to college, and finish classes that take a whole semester.”

That is what everyone does and I was pressured to do things a certain way.

My Special Skill in Action Without Even Realizing It

My Special Skill in Action Without Even Realizing It

Even at a young age, I always had the knack of finding a better way of doing things. For example, I was just going through my college courses. I did not really care too much.

Really, I thought college sucks and that there has to be a better way. At the time, online courses were just starting to become mainstream as I was going through college at 24 years old. I took a lot of time floundering in my youth. During that time, I went to community colleges where I took classes here and there. Nothing too serious, but I was having fun!

Schooling was not really a priority for me but my wife wanted me to have a degree before she married me.

And I was like, “Okay I really want to get married to you. So, I will make that happen.”

There I was, thinking how in the heck was I ever going to get a degree? I wanted to get married to her in two and a half years yet I barely had any lower-division courses.

So, I kept searching — convinced that there has to be a better way and there was! I did CLEP tests and online courses. That way, I maximized my time at home without wasting time sitting in class. And while all that was going on with the lower division classes, I went to National University, an upper-division school.

People used to tell me that online classes do not work and that I will never learn anything. Guess what? They were right.

Is Your Unique Skill a Blessing or a Burden?

Is Your Unique Skill a Blessing or a Burden?

I did not learn much in any of my classes, in high school, in any of my 20 years of schooling. You probably did not learn much as well. The whole model, in my opinion, is wrong anyway. We did not learn much.

If you are a Baby Boomer, you learned more than a Gen-X; a Gen-X learns more than a Millennial; if you are a Millennial, you learned more than a Gen-Z. The fact is, looking at the scale of learning, it curves downward. But I digress.

I was able to finish all my classes in about two years. Everyone else spent four years. The lazy way of doing things has always been my skill. I always find the most effective and efficient way of getting things done. And also, I never want to do what everyone else is doing.

Now, I used to think that it was such a bad thing. I used to think that there was something wrong with me and that I was doing things the wrong way. At times, it got me a lot of trouble. But sometimes, it saved my butt too.

Recently, one thing that I have been able to start doing is taking ownership of my special skill. I have begun to see this as a gift given to me for a specific purpose and I am going to enjoy it and flow with it.

Before I would have seen this as a burden, right now I will go with this gift and utilize it to help people. It is time to take advantage of it.

Take Advantage of Your God-Given Skills

Take Advantage of Your God-Given Skills

You need to take advantage of the God-given skills that are unique to you. Right now, we are back in Southern California and this is where I will be doing talks. All of my online content and speaking engagements are being set up and done in the most efficient and easiest way possible. I am taking advantage of and enjoying the unique gift that God gave me.

My question is, does everyone have this gift of seeing and finding the lazy yet more effective way of doing things? The answer is no. Not everybody has the skill that I have. And I could tell because I would get frustrated when people do not understand this. 

I would say, “Look, all you have to do is THIS! And you would make three times as much money! Or if you do THAT, then you would have an extra forty hours a week to enjoy and do whatever you want!”

And they would not get it, “Really? Oh, yeah. You are right.”

Then, they would not do it at all. People do not see what I see and I used to get so mad and so frustrated about the whole thing.

Use Your Skills to Help Those Who Need It

Use Your Skills to Help Those Who Need It

Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Even today, I have friends who do not see what I see. And yet I help them anyway. At the same time, I do not see what they see and they help me just the same.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to do that for each other — help using the skills unique to you. Now, people need to accept the fact that each of us has certain gifts that nobody else has. And if only we just help each other and help only those who want to be helped, imagine how much our business can grow together.

Although, you have to remember that you can only help people who want to be helped. You can only lead; you can not save.

I will lead those people who want to be led to better things through my gifts. And at the same time, I will be led by those people who are going to help me through their gifts. Then, everybody else? I will no longer be mad at them and I will understand.

Not long ago, I had one guy who got a VSA. So, we got on the phone and he was a jerk, by the way. Three months later, he asked to have another phone call, wanting a VSA. This is a guy who has a lot of money, by the way. He gets and pays for the VSA and then goes dark in six months.

Now, this guy reaches out to my business partner and wants to be reintroduced to the VSA we assigned to him before.

For people like that, I would have gotten pissed and so mad. But now, I just laugh. Like, whatever. It will all work out in the end.


Now, why is this important? This is a vital subject because you have gifts that you are not fully utilizing and embracing. 

You have gifts that resurface over and over that have gotten you farther in life and business. It is time to start embracing those gifts and have the courage to see that they were given to you for a reason.

Discover the purpose and reason why these gifts were given to you by using your unique skills to help people. The faster that you embrace them, the faster you are able to bless others and bless yourself as well.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, founder of Freedom In Five Minutes.

Now, if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, go to Google.com and type in “Freedom In Five Minutes” and whatever podcasting app you like, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, etc. More than likely, I will be there. And subscribe to the pod to get it whenever you like.

Once you have done that, maybe it’s time that you get a Virtual Systems Architect. To do that, go to FreedomInFiveMinutes.com or ProSulum.com we have a lot of good things there that will help you do a little daily five-minute automation and systemization for your entire business.

Check out this episode!

137 FIFM – Enjoying Your Quarantine Now and Forever

This quarantine and lockdown period is a tough time for most of us. But it is a time of innovation and growth for businesses that have taken initiatives to adapt.

It is true that this period can be painful for some people. But pain leads to the bounty. There is a rainbow always after the rain. The important thing is to stay strong during this crisis. 

Take this global crisis as a challenge and opportunity to innovate in your business so you may grow out of this global pandemic stronger and already ahead at the next level.

Overview & Episode Content

  • The Quarantine Period is a Beautiful Thing for Business
  • Innovations in the Restaurant Industry During COVID-19 Quarantine
  • Massive Crisis is an Opportunity for Transformation, Innovation, and Growth
  • Reconnecting with FAmily During Quarantine

The Quarantine Period is a Beautiful Thing for Business

The Quarantine Period is a Beautiful Thing for Business

By the time that this podcast gets published, things relating to the coronavirus must have calmed down. But, as of recording, things are going crazy! I cannot believe all the stuff going on with the coronavirus.

Right now, I am with Luna. Although we are in a sheltered place on twenty acres of land in the middle of the hills, we can not easily get non-essential stuff that we want. So, we do not totally feel the global crisis until we have to go to any type of store.

It is interesting and quite surprising when this all started happening and how we have escalated to this level of lockdown and quarantine so quickly. I am a conspiracy theorist by nature and I think that there is a lot more going on behind this —which I will talk a lot more about at a later time.

The interesting thing is that we have a small number of actual fatalities from COVID-19 yet everything is getting locked down all over the world.

My first thought was, “Man, I would hate to be in a position where I would have a physical office.”

If you are listening to this, do not take offense because this is actually a beautiful thing for your business. You will have the opportunity — or for sure, you already have the opportunity — to make some pretty amazing changes in your business that are going to make it last long-term.

Innovations in the Restaurant Industry During COVID-19 Quarantine

Innovations in the Restaurant Industry During COVID-19 Quarantine

One of my favorite books ever is “ReWork” by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. They have another book called “Remote”. And I am sharing this because I am a big believer in remote work whenever possible.

Obviously, you are not going to be able to do total remote work when you have a brick and mortar shop. However, the more that you can get into this remote work mode, the more that you are going to see how it provides flexibility and continuity in business. It provides more productivity and it can be extremely efficient if you do it the right way.

In fact, a lot of my clients right now are in the restaurant business. Yes, they are in a pretty bad spot during this lockdown and quarantine period. But there are a lot of opportunities that will come from this. 

One of the things that have been great in the restaurant business right now is the ghost kitchens. It is a new phenomenon that is happening right now.

Now, what happens in these ghost kitchens is that everything is branded under your name but everything is either through catering or take-out. For example, you can order McDonald’s or whatever and they will bring it to you via Uber Eats or Postmates. It is all branded but the food is prepared in a shared kitchen and you do not have a high-fixed cost anymore which is huge.

Massive Crisis is an Opportunity for Transformation, Innovation, and Growth

Massive Crisis is an Opportunity for Transformation, Innovation, and Growth

This particular industry is novel and innovative! I think that this should have happened a long time ago. But not everyone was embracing it in the past. 

Well, guess what now? Everyone is asking how to get into this ghost kitchen thing!

Now they are literally saying, “Oh, crap! I actually need to come in the 20th century.” Take note, not the 21st. The 20th to level up their old and archaic business.

This is the moment when this constraint is going to be a huge benefit — this constraint of quarantine — of not being able to do business as usual. It is where you will see that this is going to provide so many opportunities to innovate, grow, and to move your business in ways that you never thought could happen before.

You might say that this is horrendous. But in reality, it is going to transform the landscape so much. Just like the market crashes in the past. Things like these are going to transform the landscape of business.

Now is the time to be adaptable. The more that you are able to be flexible during this time, the better chances you have of growing your business despite the global crisis.

Reconnecting with Family During Quarantine

Reconnecting with Family During Quarantine

The other thing I have noticed — even with me — is the time we spend with family more. I am spending more time with the people I love. 

All over the country, there is a new little spirit where the family is first. I see it on Facebook. Friends and family who send off their kids to school and spend most of their time at work and spend the entire day separated — except for Saturday and Sunday. They barely get to know their family, their kids. Myself included.

I was not spending a ton of time with the people I love. I see on Facebook now, families are actually being together and doing projects together. Families are trying to enjoy the quarantine and rebuilding their relationships in cases where it’s already kind of destroyed. And it is such a beautiful thing. It is absolutely wonderful. 

Why is this important? It is important because these are times for change and flexibility. Seeing the real true constraints that you have with business and family. The faster that you are able to adapt, the more that you will see that this is a huge blessing during this tough time being quarantined. Enjoy it. Utilize it.


Yes, the lockdown and quarantine period can be painful. But pain can sometimes lead to the bounty. There is always a clear sky after the storm.

Stay strong during this crisis. Take this opportunity to innovate in your business so you may grow out of this global pandemic stronger and already at the next level.

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, founder of FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. I will continue my walk with Luna and I will catch you in the next Freedom in Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

136 FIFM – Don’t Let a Virus Stop You from Doing What You Intended to Do

Who are the people closest to you? Are they family? Friends? During this time of global coronavirus crisis, what were you able to give them?

It is a time of uncertainty. If the system goes away, will you still have people to go to and band together with? Can you still grow your family then? Or grow your livelihood and culture? The reality is, we have lost so much of the American Spirit and the American Dream.

Overview & Episode Content

  • How Do You Plant and Grow the Perfect Garden Bed in the Midst of a Pandemic?
  • What Do You Think About the Coronavirus?
  • People are More Blessed When Giving Than When Receiving
  • Why You Should Stop Hoarding and Start Giving

How Do You Plant and Grow the Perfect Garden Bed in the Midst of a Pandemic?

How Do You Plant and Grow the Perfect Garden Bed in the Midst of a Pandemic?

Before I talk about the main topic for this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast, let me tell you about a very cool gardening project I am working on today.

Right now, I am rolling tree trunks up to the garden bed enclosure in our acreage. These tree trunks will be used for some Hugelkultur.

For centuries, Hugelkultur has been used in Eastern Europe and Germany. Pronounced hoo-gul-culture, it is a German word that literally means hill culture or hill mound.

A Hugelkultur is a raised garden bed of about two feet high. And then, buried in this garden bed are tree trunks, dead wood, and branches. These no-dig raised garden beds make a ton of difference!

They do a great job of holding in moisture. To be honest, I do not know if they are drought-proof. But drought tolerant? Definitely!

It is also a great way to build up fertility and maximize surface volume. If there is one thing that fruit, vegetables, and herbs love to grow on, it is Hugelkultur. The plants just grow on them very well!

To know more detailed information on what a Hugelkultur is, look it up on Google! I highly recommend making some Hugelkultur if you have gardening projects going on right now. It is absolutely a wonderful project for your garden.

What Do You Think About The Coronavirus?

What Do You Think About The Coronavirus?

Now, today’s main topic is related to the global coronavirus pandemic and what I really think about it. People may disagree with me on this one but this is what I think.

A big part of me wants to say that this whole thing is totally fake. I think that we should not worry about it at all. But then again, I’m sure that there are people out there who are suffering close to what the CDC describes.

If you look at this coronavirus and compare it to all the pandemics that have surfaced in the last few decades, it is minuscule!

And people might think, “How dare you, Dean! How dare you say that the numbers are not even close to what they say!”

Well, that is the truth! Research for yourself and take a look at the numbers. You will see that it really is not as bad as the past pandemics!

People are More Blessed When Giving Than When Receiving

You are More Blessed When You Give Than When You Receive

I went to the grocery store despite all the craziness today. What I saw there did not surprise me at all. The shelves were pretty much empty because people were on the hoarding, panicking, and saving mode where they had forgotten to care about their neighbors.

Seeing the empty aisles made me think of a book that I have read recently called “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg. The book is about giving more than receiving. This concept actually comes from a bible reference, which they have mentioned in the last parts of the book.

It is more blessed to be giving than it is to be receiving. Coming from a pretty broken home, I tend to have a habit of hoarding and not giving before I am receiving. It was so amazing to read the book because not only did it change my mindset, it showed me why people like Daniel Apple and William Chiem got us into places like WeWork. WeWork is huge! It is one of the biggest companies right now.

If you have not listened to me and Paul Tran, talking about Daniel and William in a previous episode, check it out at FreedomInFiveMinutes.com.

William and Daniel of Trinet based all of their sales philosophy on The Go-Giver mentality where the idea is to simply give without expecting anything in return.

Why You Should Stop Hoarding and Start Giving

Why You Should Stop Hoarding and Start Giving

Now, the thing is that you will get things back in return anyway — even if you’ve given without expecting to receive anything. It is so amazing to have that whole mentality.

To have this state of mind is vital during this time where people are hoarding food and, of all things, toilet papers.

Why is this important? It is vital because, during this time of uncertainty with the global coronavirus crisis, one can never know what is going to happen from one day to the next. The only certain thing is that people have friends, neighbors, and family.

Now is the time to get closer to them. This week,  get closer to the people you care about you. Even if we are not a hundred percent certain that they do care about our wellbeing, get close! This is what is truly important during these times.

Sure, you may just call on Amazon to send over whatever you want but what if Amazon goes away? What if the rest of the system goes away?

Today is the time to focus on those who are closest to you so that whatever happens, people can still band together and grow families, grow livelihoods, and grow cultures. We have already lost so much of that in the American Spirit and in the American Dream.


American actress, producer, dancer, singer, and founder of The Hawn Foundation—which helps underprivileged children—Goldie Hawn said, “Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person.”

Resources and Links

This is Dean Soto, founder of FreedomInFiveMinutes.com. Go to check out your business process scorecard and join the masterclass. Also, check out ProSulum.com and the four video series that we have there. Do that and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode!

Check out this episode!

135 FIFM – Maximizing the Cost-Effectiveness and Impact of Your Non-Profit with Patrick Reis

Patrick Reis

An amazing guest joins Dean in today’s Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode — someone near and dear to his heart who has made a huge impact in so many people’s lives, Patrick Reis from Encounter Ministries. Patrick became very good friends with Dean has become a constant inspiration and challenge in pretty much every facet of Dean’s life.

Today, they talk about the pains on the business side of non-profits during this global coronavirus crisis. Learn how Patrick avoided these pains and how he is thriving during this tough time because of some very different choices ahead of time despite having people against him.

Overview & Episode Content

  • How Does Finance Impact a Minister’s Influence? 
  • Becoming Fruitful with the Help of VSAs
  • The Right Expectations and Its Impact on Successful Onboarding
  • Task Management Accountability and its Impacts on Productivity
  • How Can a VSA Truly Impact Your Business?

How Does Finance Impact a Minister’s Influence?

How Does Finance Impact a Minister’s Influence?

In the long history of Christianity, there has been such an unnecessary division between a good minister and a good business person. There is a false notion among Christians that a good minister can never be good with money. Or, that a good minister does not have the ability to handle finances or manage employees while running a fruitful ministry. 

For the longest time, there is a misconception that money and ministry do not go together. And nothing could be further from the truth. 

Patrick says, “Christians must understand that money is essentially a form of influence. If God has called on us to influence the world around us, then we have to be responsible with money.”

Remember the Parable of the Talents. The third servant had merely hidden his talent, burying it in the ground, and was punished by his master.

The funny thing is, the third servant had a mindset where his master was harsh. Because of that, he has grown to be fearful of his master and it prevented him from being fruitful.

So, keep in mind that we serve a good loving Father Who wants us to bear fruit. And then, realize that our reward for being fruitful and prudent with finance is greater influence.

Becoming Fruitful with the Help of VSAs

Becoming Fruitful with the Help of VSAs 

Before Patrick knew about VSAs, he was spending way too much on people just doing administrative tasks who were not even doing their work well — going through three employees in one year. 

Now, the work was piling up on top of Patrick’s exceptional technical automation skills. It was an awful year in terms of administration and it hurt the curriculum work that Patrick does and the time he spends in prayer.

Patrick recalls in the Parable of the Sower, “The seed is the word of God. If you are a minister or a simple Christian, and God has given you the word and put it in good soil — the seed that fell on good soil will bear fruit a hundredfold.”

 This is something that Patrick has meditated a lot on. The reality is, we do not have more time and our resources are limited. What does a hundredfold increase in your word look like in our life? 

For Patrick, that means multiplying the time and resources that he has so he can be even more fruitful.

“I can either have a scarcity mindset and do things the traditional way or go after the hundredfold increase,” says Patrick.

Later, he found a way to get all the administrative tasks done for the ministry when he connected with Dean and hired Nice, his first VSA from ProSulum.com. The learning curve was exponential and as a leader, Patrick was able to focus on working on high-value tasks.

The Right Expectations and Its Impact on Successful Onboarding

The Right Expectations and Its Impact on Successful Onboarding 

When getting a VSA to be part of your team, it is important to be the driver of the whole process. Setting the right expectations and being clear on what needs to be done as the executive director is vital.

Just step up and do it. 70% of leaders pay so much to be trained on how to manage VSAs but do not implement their learnings onto their businesses. So much money was being wasted. And going back to the Parable of the Talent, these leaders just bury their talent!

Now, Patrick wasted no time and followed my coaching at ProSulum.com and FreedomInFiveMinutes.com after hiring his first VSA, Nico. Immediately, he noticed a big difference in work output. Schedules and appointments were finally set straight and emails were responded. Patrick was able to focus on his creativity, prayer, and other high-value projects.

The same thing also reflected with the rest of his administrative team where they were able to focus on their zone and start delegating things over to Nico, the new VSA, so they can operate on higher-level projects. And on top of that, developing a relationship with Nico from being on edge around him to being connected with him on a personal level.

Task Management Accountability and its Impact on Productivity

Task Management Accountability and its Impact on Productivity 

“I had a problem with accountability. We use ASANA to set deadlines and clear accountability,” tells Patrick who is overseeing half a dozen employees — the other half dozen is being managed by his associate director.

Now, they developed a culture where it is okay to not hit deadlines. And it is not okay.

“How can I trust you to hit future deadlines when you think in your mind that it’s okay to miss them?” says Patrick.

It is vital for staff members to have the ability to shift expectations when deadlines cannot be met. That was just not happening for Patrick’s in house team. The lack of clarity and communication had a negative impact on the execution of things that God has called them to do.

To combat this unfavorable culture, Patrick enlisted Nico’s help to create a monthly report through weekdone.com and post a monthly ranking of staff members for the whole team to see. On the first monthly report, Nico got a 1% overdue completion rate with the second-highest amount of tasks. The next best had a 20% overdue completion rate.

This motivated everyone to step up and it gave Patrick the increase in productivity that he has always wanted. The next month, Patrick saw a significant decrease in overdue completion rates among his staff members. 20% became 0%. 40% went down to just 6%. And Nico’s 1% became 0%.  

Just having one VSA, Nico, who had a high level of productivity and work ethic impacted everyone’s motivation. It was a huge productivity win for Patrick’s ministry. 

How Can a VSA Truly Impact Your Business?

How Can a VSA Truly Impact Your Business? 

A lot of prospects ask me what a VSA can really do? Do they just do strictly admin tasks?

In terms of the business side of the ministry school, Patrick has automated admissions and taught Nico to follow protocols and identify who to accept, flag for other teammates to look into.

The best thing for Patrick was how Nico knew nothing about multimedia and yet he was able to get a hang of the skill quickly after Patrick taught him basic editing using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Patrick is able to mold Nico into doing financial, admissions, administrative, text support,  and multimedia tasks. And it was never about replacing his in-house staff with remote-based VSAs. 

“Do I value what my staff is doing for the ministry? Should they be spending this amount of time doing the busy work and minutia? You know what, I love what they are doing but I think we can create a system where Nico is able to do all of these,” thought Patrick.

They were able to unlock the ministry’s in-house staff’s potential and boost their productivity by having them delegate the busy-work to Nico. The best thing about it is that Patrick’s plan worked! And that resulted in huge wins and massively fruitful results in their ministry.


Accountability is a core value and if you honor your work, you have to honor the deadlines for each of your tasks.

And if met with skepticism about unconventional decisions, it is important that your team understands where you are coming from and arrive at a decision where everyone is on board.

Resources and Links

To learn more about Patrick and his organizations, visit EncounterMinistries.us and click the “Partner” tab on their website to learn more about their partner program. 

And if you like this episode, visit FreedomInFiveMinutes.com for more. Also, if you’re looking to hire your next Virtual Systems Architect, check out ProSulum.com for more details.

This has been Dean Soto of Freedom In Five Minutes with Patrick Reis! And I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

134 FIFM – Becoming a Fast and Furious CFO with Jarrod Souza

Jarrod Souza

Today on Freedom In Five Minutes, Dean chats with Jarrod Souza, CFO at Michael Hyatt & Company. They recount Jarrod’s onboarding process and how he thrived in his career and personal life despite the many changes over the years.

Listen to the full episode, learn why you should never fear changes in your life, and achieve the freedom you deserve whether you are in the corporate or entrepreneurial space. That and more, in today’s Freedom in Five Minutes Podcast!

Overview & Episode Content

  • Jarrod Rises Fast to Become CFO
  • Always Be Hungry to Learn but Learn Fast
  • Reclaiming a Nearly Lost Opportunity
  • One Bad Fish can Spoil the Whole Pond
  • The Challenges of Living with Fast Changes

Jarrod Rises Fast to Become a CFO

Jarrod Rises Fast to Become a CFO

We often hear business success stories, “From Corporate America to business success!”

Business owners are able to positively impact their people. But the reality is, running one’s own business can be very stressful. Personally, if I was able to create value for so many people from a corporate standpoint then I would have remained there. The thing is, corporate professionals are able to impact their people just as well!

But the question is, how does one person impact so many lives? This is how establishing a healthy and thriving culture within the business becomes essential. By taking care of your own people, they in turn care for your clients. And that makes a world of difference! This is how executives and business owners provide value to all their people.

“Being able to make a huge impact within Michael Hyatt & Company which then makes a broader impact on its people’s lives is what helps me get up in the morning and puts a smile on my face,” says Jarrod.

Despite not coming from an accounting background, Jarrod has risen fast to become the Chief Financial Officer at Michael Hyatt & Company in 2019. Having the ability to help people exponentially by thriving inside a corporate world is a great place to be.

Always Be Hungry to Learn but Learn Fast

Always Be Hungry to Learn but Learn Fast

Before becoming CFO, Jarrod went through working from a government agency and then to a family-owned business. He was learning things he did not even expect.

For the longest time, he was not sure what he wanted to become. So, he tried to absorb and learn as much as he could. From there, his love for learning grew even more.

His studies involved a ton of marketing which had a massive impact on the trajectory of his career since it tied well with small businesses. This was the complete opposite of some of the marketers I know who know nothing about finance. 

Some of these marketers would spend so much on overhead and either overhired or overpaid on fixed costs. For Jarrod, it is important to never lose sight of what else is below the line. A small win today means nothing if it means suffering an absolutely huge loss tomorrow.

The important thing is to strike the right balance between your numbers. Now, I work with a lot of CFOs and most of them are prohibitive in moving towards business development. 

“If you can outspend your competition, you can make it! You have to balance your cash flow, revenue through time,” Jarrodd’s work can get complicated really fast but it is something he is very passionate about.

Reclaiming a Nearly Lost Opportunity Fast

Reclaiming a Nearly Lost Opportunity Fast

Jarrod was working for an Ecommerce business in the D.C. area in Northern Virginia for two years where he has a mentor, Dr. Mike Petty — co-founder of FlagshipFutures.com. It was Dr. Mike Petty who introduced Jarrod to one of Michael Hyatt’s books and encouraged him to connect with them.

During that time, Jarrod was at a level where he was taking new opportunities through connections. He knew no one at Michael Hyatt & Company but was encouraged to send over a resume. Now, the funny thing was he kept on putting it off because he knew no one in the company.

Apparently, he got tired of being hounded to connect with Michael Hyatt & Company so he made a goal to update his resume by the end of the day and send a physical copy the next. 

On the following day, Jarrod was at FedEx to mail a physical copy to Michael Hyatt & Company, that was when he noticed a misspelled word on the address of the document.

“Well, there goes that opportunity. There’s no way in hell I’d have a C-level position over there with all the grammatical errors and typos,” thought Jarrod as he watched his document get mailed away.

Jarrod needed to act fast if he wanted to reclaim a losing opportunity. So, he revised his document, corrected all errors, and sent it again. 

He apologized for the first one saying, “I don’t know if this takes me out of the running but I could not live with myself with all the errors on the first one, but here’s the corrected copy.”

Lo and behold, Jarrod was invited for a series of interviews for a C-level position.

One Bad Fish Can Spoil the Whole Pond

One Bad Fish Can Spoil the Whole Pond

Because the company has already established a great culture within, it is only logical to have a stringent hiring process. After all, one bad fish can spoil the whole pond.

“One of the sessions I remember best was a very awkward recorded video interview — I’m not gonna lie. You just get a question prompt on the screen and you have about two minutes to answer it. After that, the whole recording gets submitted,” Jarrod recalls.

It was a very interesting interview process for Jarrod, “You had to wonder how you did because there was no feedback. You were not able to bounce off ideas.” 

True, such a system would be nerve-wracking for the applicants but it would be a very effective way of scaling the hiring process. That way, the company would not take so much of its team’s time.

However, after the first few rounds of the interview process, the executive meetings and interviews were better. It was no longer awkward and the nervous tension went away for Jarrod.

“Honestly, it was like family. It was crazy.” Jarrod recounts how the meetings felt with the executives and meeting with Michael Hyatt himself for the first time.

After a day of interviews, Jarrod got an offer on the spot and took home a video recording from Michael Hyatt himself. In the video, Michael ticked off all the reasons why he would take the offer if he were Jarrod.

When Jarrod showed the videos to his wife, she said, “Looks like we’re moving again.” 

The Challenges of Living with Fast Changes

The Challenges of Living with Fast Changes

The executive team of Michael Hyatt & Company are all high-achievers.

“Just being in that company — they push me each and every day. And I always make sure that I surround myself with people who push me both professionally and personally,” said Jarrod as he looks back on the changes in his life when he accepted the offer at Michael Hyatt & Company.

There was not a lot of change in Jarrod’s life as he was growing up. Literally, his parents are still in the same house he was born in. But dedicated to each of his impasses was a lot of prayers.

When doors open up, it is vital that you trust that you are walking through the right doors and not be scared of change. One thing that can hold you back is fear of change. Of course, there is always a sense of being uncomfortable with change but at the end of the storm is always growth.

Jarrod related, “Not hesitating to make changes is what led me to where I am.”

Opportunities help you grow and prepare for the next challenges. Even if things that happen in your life are not planned, continue to push yourself, work hard, and keep on walking through doors.


“I was never a planner by trait before joining Michael Hyatt & Company. I don’t schedule out my days,” confessed Jarrod.

But, the company has developed the Full Focus Planner and Jarrod has embraced that. The game-changer for him in the Full Focus Planner was the weekly preview. Before the week begins, he reflects on the previous one — what worked, what didn’t, and what were the things that got accomplished. And then, setting tasks for the current week that are aligned with the goals that are set for the quarter of this year.

Doing this for ten minutes a week changes the trajectory of the workflow instead of putting out fires every day.

Be intentional in your goals and embrace change — do not be scared of it.

Resources and Links

You can learn more about Jarrod on his website at JarrodSouza.com or about Michael Hyatt & Company on their website at MichaelHyatt.com.

And if you like this episode, visit FreedomInFiveMinutes.com for more. Also, if you’re looking to hire your next Virtual Systems Architect, check out ProSulum.com for more details.

This has been Dean Soto of Freedom In Five Minutes with guest Jarrod Souza! And I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!

133 FIFM – Leadership in Times of World Crisis with Eric Olsen

133 FIFM Eric Olsen

In today’s Freedom in Five Minutes Podcast episode, Eric Olsen talks about leadership in times of global crisis. Eric—The Leadership Evangelist—is a freelance consultant who has worked with different organizations both from civilian and military backgrounds.

Right now, he is utilizing his skills for different businesses during this global Coronavirus pandemic. He is focused on the Free Crisis Leadership Program with DiligentPlans.com—something that is truly needed during this tough time.

Overview & Episode Content

  • Leadership Coaching at DiligentPlans.com During Times of Crisis
  • Eric’s Path to Leadership is Paved with Unanswered Prayers
  • Leading Proactively and Staying Ahead to Save Lives
  • The Proactive VS The Nearsighted Leader
  • How to Unlock Suppressed Talent Through Leadership
  • What Does Leadership Mean?
  • A Leader is Your Sea Anchor

Free Leadership Coaching at DiligentPlans.com During Times of Crisis

Leadership Coaching at DiligentPlans.com During Times of Crisis

Today, business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of growing in crisis. Over at DiligentPlans.com, most of the coaches have been deployed at least once. They have powerful experiences and wisdom to share and one of these is how good the military is at creating crises so that people are able to grow.

Although it’s true that not everyone is going to go through boot camp, Eric says “A crisis like this really focuses on people. One of my favorite words is ‘DELIBERATE’. Looking at how people have had to become deliberate in this time is definitely something new that none of us have ever seen before.”

Just look at the focus and deliberate mindset that this global pandemic is giving people. For example, Eric shares how his eight-year-old daughter is planning days in advance and specify the time when she will FaceTime her friends. We teach our kids the same discipline of setting an exact time to meet up with friends and family but it never really sinks in until now when everyone is forced to step up out of necessity.

This is a perfect microcosm of what is going on in most of our lives right now. “Deliberate” is such a brilliant word and that is exactly what permeates into everyone across the world in both life and business.

Eric’s Path to Leadership is Paved with Unanswered Prayers

Eric’s Path to Leadership is Paved with Unanswered Prayers

False starts and turns that went the wrong way were littered all throughout Eric’s life. He was passionate about flying a plane from a very young age. One day, someone told him to go to the Air Force since that’s where people go who love to fly! And the Air Force was Eric’s first twist and turn.

Eric recounts his experience in West Point, “If I’m gonna go on a cruise, I want to be drinking piña coladas or something like that. So I decided to go over to the army at West Point and I learned so many great things. One thing that stood out to me was when you come back for your sophomore year, I was nineteen years old, they give you two plebes of your own and they make you responsible for their training and everything that they do.”

Most people do not think of themselves as the leader and do not intend to become one but sometimes life challenges you, and you are forced to step up and lead in a situation where failure is not an option.

Eric is of the mindset that leaders are made, not born. And this is a total mind shift. There is no user manual for becoming responsible for someone else. You simply have to realize what is real, step up, and just do it—lead.

Leading Proactively and Staying Ahead to Save Lives

Leading Proactively and Staying Ahead to Save Lives

Eric’s career started off in a relatively peaceful time, training as a helicopter pilot. He was flying an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. So, he found himself yet in a bigger leadership role when wartime suddenly came. Not only was he responsible for people, but for several millions of dollars worth of equipment.

“It forced me to get so much more proactive, rather than just do what I was asked. I had to figure out how to stay ahead of our enemies and keep my guys as safe as possible.”, says Eric.

It was a huge paradigm shift for Eric from being comfortable as a follower to becoming a leader. And it is no joke. In the military, if the people under you mess up, that is your fault as their leader. You, as the leader, are responsible for your people multiplied by their family members. That is the magnitude of your responsibility under a life-or-death stress situation in a war-time military.

Later on, Eric got an opportunity to take on more responsibility as a leader in maintenance. And although maintenance is the kiss of death for a military pilot, Eric took it. This was his transition point from military to corporate.

After being deployed a few more times, Eric switched over to corporate and that was where he discovered there was not much of a difference from the military after all.

The Proactive VS The Nearsighted Leader

The Proactive VS The Nearsighted Leader

Eric tells people all the time, “I stayed ahead of what my clients wanted and identified who had the final say if I was doing a good job or not. And then, I trained my guys so that they would be ready to meet the needs of the customer before they even wanted it or even knew they wanted it.”

Sometimes, leaders tend to be nearsighted when riddled with little concerns daily. Take for example a general manager who has to deal with payroll, hiring, firing, etc… The trick is to learn creative and new ways to do tasks. People are the core aspect of any company or military organization. The manner of how you lead people determines your success.

Leadership is all about doing the right thing no matter what. Whatever the industry, it comes back to relating to people, developing people, looking at who your customer is, and figuring out how to meet their needs.

It is interesting how business owners and leaders tend to not see that there are people who have the potential to be high-value assets to the business but they are suppressed. Eric talks about why this happens so many times in different businesses and how to unlock this “hidden” force multiplier that’s just sitting there, already part of your business but suppressed.

How to Unlock Suppressed Talent Through Leadership

How to Unlock Suppressed Talent Through Leadership

One of the things that get in so many people’s ways nowadays is when people are given responsibility without ownership. And to make it worse, they are micromanaged. You have to realize that with responsibility comes ownership and authority. And right now, this is exactly what plagues most businesses.

People who were under you generally want to see the success of the business. Of course, there are some people who just want a paycheck and go home. Identify those people who actually enjoy what they are doing and what the business does.

And then, give them something, a project—give them a responsibility—and let them own it. Let them do what they think is best for their project. Naturally, as a leader, you have to assess. But by default, If you feel that people want your business to be successful, they will try to do the right thing every day.

A lot of folks have 30 to 40 years of professional history—being given responsibilities with no authority. And they are so disgruntled because of it. You have to realize it can take a long time to overcome that. And that is why leadership is so important and so much needed right now. 

Eric shares one realization, “The interesting thing is that giving people responsibility and letting them have the authority and ownership of that project made my job easier! It is one of those things where you don’t realize it until you see it.”

What does Leadership Mean?

What does Leadership Mean?

Business owners are great people but so many of them do not see themselves as leaders. Most of the time, they simply do something because it makes them money.

There is no leadership in their mindset. Everyone out there with a small business is a leader who possesses leadership traits that are much stronger than they have any idea of. Eric helps them embrace the fact that they are a leader now and change the way they think about running a business and what leadership means.

Leadership does not simply mean getting the job done. It is about helping the people who work for you to get better at doing their job. That mindset shift is what makes everyone go to that next level. This is something that the leaders need to realize right now in these small businesses. Leadership is not about them doing it better. Instead, it is about taking the lead so that your people figure out how to do it better.

It was Lee Iacocca who said, “I hire smart people and then I get out of their way.”

So many small business owners have an office manager that has been doing the job — running the office for 20 years. And are not allowed to do anything unless they are told to by the owner! That is not being a leader.

A Leader is Your Sea Anchor

A Leader is Your Sea Anchor
By Ed Dunens – Sea anchor, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64498691

In a global crisis like this, you cannot do that anymore. You have to pull back and start looking at the leader. And perhaps, you may be uncomfortable with it at first and think that you are not prepared for it or that it is not your innate skill. But all these thoughts are wrong. You have to do it, step up, and embrace your role.

However, just because you are the leader does not mean that you will have the answers all the time. It does not necessarily mean that you will be totally certain of what to do next in every situation. Would each of your decisions be the right choice? Or course not.

The people in your organizations are not looking for perfection in their leader. They are looking for a sea anchor in their leader. For those who are non-sailors out there, a sea anchor is deployed off the bow and used to keep a drifting boat’s head to the wind and waves so that it may ride through seas and it keeps the boat oriented in a storm.

That is what a leader is supposed to do. They keep everyone oriented with the best way to negotiate that storm. You are not making the only decisions. It is important to let everyone else on that boat do their job because, with the leader as the anchor, the crew is not getting tossed around by the waves that are hitting the boat sideways.


Allow your people the freedom to decide and take ownership of their responsibilities. They are the ones on the ground floor and have a much better view of what is really happening.

Let go, and synthesize the intel that you gather from your people. That will arm you with enough knowledge to make better decisions, and although it may seem counterintuitive, it will lead the company in a more effective direction if leaders let go.

Resources and Links

At the beginning of this episode, Eric mentioned DiligentPlans.com/freecoaching. This link will point you to a whole team that can coach you for free. These coaches have backgrounds in leadership training, multiple combat tours, Pentagon speaking, and more. These coaches are an amazing group of folks, each one just looking to give time out there for anyone who wants to learn about how to better lead during a crisis.

It is a free session and you have nothing to lose. The other best way to find Eric is on LinkedIn at www.LinkedIn.com/in/EricMOlsen — Eric Olsen Leadership Evangelist. 

Reach out to Eric, he loves helping people solve problems whatever that looks like. He does not do cookie-cutter programs, he will try to figure out what is really going on with you, meet you where you are, move forward, and take that next step from there.

Also, do not forget to check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and ProSulum.com and I will catch you on the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.

Check out this episode!