Episode 206 // Company of One with Paul Jarvis

December 11, 2018

Boss boyfriend, Paul Jarvis is back on Being Boss! He’s got a new book called Company of One, so we’re digging into the mindset of being a solopreneur, finding “enoughness” in your business, finding resilience, and hiring vs. partnering on projects.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"A lot of times we're so busy working at our business, we don't spend any time working on our business."
- Paul Jarvis

Discussed in this Episode

  • Keeping out distractions and being a minimalist boss
  • What is "company of one"
  • Finding that place of enoughness in business
  • Resilience when it comes to chasing "hedonism for hire" & the three traits of resilience
  • Developing an expertise
  • Paul's lessons about marketing he learned from being in an indie band
  • Partnering on a project vs. hiring help for a project
  • Saving and investing as a business owner
  • Optimizing for a better life vs. a bigger life

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Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:09
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Paul Jarvis 0:11
I'm Paul Jarvis and I'm being boss.

Emily Thompson 0:18
In this episode of being boss, join Kathleen and I while we talk to Paul Jarvis about being a company of one. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes@www.hp being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:33
Hey, if you're listening to this podcast and you haven't quite made the leap to working for yourself, there is a good chance that your idea of how challenging it will be to be your own boss won't exactly match up with the reality of how challenging it's actually going to be. Now, this is not an attempt to talk you out of it. In fact, it is the exact opposite because there's so much amazing help available, you've just got to know where to look. Our friends at freshbooks make ridiculously easy cloud accounting for small businesses. And I've helped millions of folks just like you make the brave leap to being their own bosses. Using freshbooks is kind of like having your own administrative assistant who's got your back 24 seven, so you can set automatically payment reminders. And you can have fresh books through the chasing so goodbye awkward money conversations. And with the new proposal feature, you can create a living professional document for your project and have your clients sign online so you can get to work faster. It is so incredibly legit. To see how freshbooks can support you in your quest for becoming boss. We want to offer our listeners an unrestricted 30 day free trial Just go to freshbooks comm slash at being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:55
Paul Jarvis is a veteran of the online tech world and over the years has had such corporate clients as Microsoft Marie Forleo, Mercedes Benz and even Shaquille O'Neal. Today, he teaches online courses run several software businesses and hosts a handful of podcasts from his home on an island on the west coast of Canada. His next book is called a company of one why staying small is the next big thing.

Unknown Speaker 2:24
Alright, let's do this. We've got our boss boyfriend, Paul Jarvis on the show today.

Kathleen Shannon 2:31
Paul, how's it going?

Paul Jarvis 2:33
It's going good. I love you guys. I think you're the only people that I would say that to like, if I'm a guest on a podcast. I don't think I can't think of anybody else that I would say that too.

Emily Thompson 2:44
Well, you made me should just start them all with I love you.

Kathleen Shannon 2:48
We did a huge listener survey. And one of the responses was make more stuff with Paul and Jason.

Emily Thompson 2:54
That is fact that is fact I think you've been on the podcast, maybe more than anyone. Wow, I think so. But it's

Kathleen Shannon 3:04
also been a while since you've been on the podcast. So for our listeners who might not know who you are, can you can you tell our people who you are aside from our boyfriend?

Paul Jarvis 3:15
Sure. So until I mean, that takes up most of my time. But when I'm not doing my boyfriend duties, I don't know. I like to be honest, I don't really know what I do. So I do stuff on the internet. So I make and sell online courses mostly around freelancing and marketing. I host a couple podcasts, like invisible office hours creative class and working on a new one. And I write so I write a newsletter called Sunday dispatches. And I've written a book called company of one which we may touch on in this episode, we will see if we get to Yeah, just just to touch. Those are I think that's I think that's what I do

Emily Thompson 3:52
is a man of many things. It's really funny. I was talking to a coaching client recently and she was telling me it was like the introductory call. She's telling me what she does what she wants to do when and all of these things and she similar where he does things on the internet and those lots of things about internet things and wants to grow her business and those sorts of things. And I was asking her I was like, do you want to grow a team? And she was like, No, I don't like managing people want to be just me. Like you sound like a Paul Jarvis If ever I heard one. Nice, right, it made me think of you and how it is that you've been able to grow at such a sort of life and work for yourself just doing things that you're good at and collaborating with people and really interesting and cool ways. I I love that you don't know what to call yourself because I don't think there's a word Paul.

Paul Jarvis 4:43
Yeah, I don't I don't think there I don't think there is either at least one hasn't been invented yet.

Emily Thompson 4:49
Well, here's your chance.

Paul Jarvis 4:51
If anybody listening wants to invent a word for all the things I just said, tweet me,

Kathleen Shannon 4:56
right, make it kind and then send them an email and it's fun. Because it goes against a lot of what we say whenever it comes to branding and positioning yourself as an expert and, you know, really narrowing in on a niche so that you can attract more of your dream customer. And I think that you have been through that trajectory. And now you can really afford to kind of follow your curiosity and do what you want. And I think it is because you have, you are flexible, and you can be nimble as a company of one. And because I think paired with your minimalist lifestyle, which we might also get into, I think that you've paired out a lot of distractions, not only like materially but energetically in your mind space as well.

Paul Jarvis 5:40
And digitally as well, who like did a bunch of stuff.

Emily Thompson 5:46
You have nothing on your like desktop screen.

Paul Jarvis 5:54
I have two things, David pal wrote a cool article that I want to reference at some point. So that's on my desktop, and there's an interview with Ben chestnut, the CEO of MailChimp and Fortune Magazine, I have two things on my desktop, which are just two things that like, I want to do something about at some point, but I haven't but that's it. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 6:12
take a guess at what my desktop looks like.

Paul Jarvis 6:16
Everything. I that's my guess is that it's just everything. It is.

Kathleen Shannon 6:22
It is everything.

Emily Thompson 6:24
I love it. So okay, let's talk about some of this some of this minimalism and how it is that you've found yourself? I guess my first question is, were you always this focused on keeping out distractions? Or was it a journey you had to take?

Paul Jarvis 6:40
yes to both perfect makes it to explain that. I think I've always worked for myself since like 1998 or 99. So it's been a little while. And I think in the beginning, I was definitely I cared less about growth and more about betterment, like a better like bettering my income to like bettering the services that I offer to bettering my products. Like, I've always cared more about that than growing and I don't think I would be a good manager. But it wasn't until 2011 when I started to think like, I think there's something here like, I think there's something to this other than me being a fucking weirdo. And like not wanting to grow my business Ay, ay ay ay ay, there might be more to it. And there might be like more in terms of there's something valid that people might resonate with. Because in the beginning, I thought, like, I'm the only person in the world who feels this way about business. And then I started writing about it. And then I started to get hundreds of people replying back, like, Oh, my God, I thought I was the only one. I'm just like, let's all just raise their hands. And it's like, stupid pun, but there's like a growing movement of people who don't want to, like grow their business. And I think that's really what I folk like since then I was like, Okay, I think there's something here. And then I focused on that sense. And yeah, it's just, it's just interesting to me, it's just super interesting to me that there are different ways to do everything. Like regardless of what, like thought leaders on the internet, say, there's more than one way to run a business. There's more than one type of person who should be an entrepreneur, there's more than one way to basically do everything.

Kathleen Shannon 8:21
So you went down the rabbit hole with us and wrote an entire book about it. And I actually really do want to dig into the book because I've read the book. It's incredible. And I think it's incredibly valuable, what you're teaching here. And I think there's a lot that we can learn from it, whether you are a side hustler, that is still working a day job, or maybe even you have a company like Emily and I do we are not just companies have one, we have partners, we have employees, but there's still so much that you can gain from the philosophies here. So first, I want to do some defining here, how do you define company of one because like the word company, and the word one, doesn't that just mean Freelancer? Or no?

Paul Jarvis 9:05
Well, no, but I'm glad you're asking that. I think that that. So I think the title of the book is like really catchy and like my agent and publisher really like gravitated towards that. I still think it's a great title. But I think it's slightly wrong. Because when I'm talking about a company of one, I don't literally mean a one person business. Like in the book, like, like you, you read it. So like I taught like Basecamp and buffer are probably my favorite companies have one right now. And they're like 30 6080 companies. So I think the definition here of company of one and what the company of one mindset really comes down to is just questioning growth. Like, does growth in this way in this area make sense for me, whether I'm a business of 1000 people, 10,000 people or one person, and I think that's really what it comes down to is just saying Okay, bigger isn't always better, better is better. So what does that look like and even for myself, like, I'm not a one person business, I have three business partners on three different projects, I have audio person, I have a copy, editing person, a video person, I have an animation. Like, I have a bunch of PII like, I still think I'm a company of one, but I've kind of defined what makes sense for my business specifically. And then I work towards that instead of just working towards, let's 10x all of the XC things and go from there.

Emily Thompson 10:33
Right, because let's talk for a second about, like, what most people's conception is around starting a business or a company. And because the idea is that you start the thing, and you grow the thing, where I think even most people don't even define a cap for themselves, like the because part of the like joy, even perhaps, or seeming joy of starting something is this idea of complete and utter infinite growth possibilities. So they don't define a cap and they just keep going for going sake or because it's believed, I think that if you are starting a business or company, that growth is the purpose.

Paul Jarvis 11:19
Yeah, and a lot of that comes down to capitalism, as we know, it now is kind of fucked up. Like when you think about it, it's kind of messed up. Because the way that it works is that growth is perceived as always good, when in reality, it's not like even thinking about like all these people that are like, I want to be like the next Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs and stuff. Like I'm watching the hearings, with like Zuckerberg sitting there sweating with his nerdy shirt on, like,

Kathleen Shannon 11:49
like, I never want to be you couldn't pay me enough to be that

Paul Jarvis 11:52
exactly. Like I like I don't, I would not want that, like I would sacrifice and same with like, famous people. Like I would never want to be so famous that I couldn't go to the fucking discount grocery store and get my recycled toilet paper. Like that, to me, is just like, It boggles my mind that such a weird example to get but like,

Kathleen Shannon 12:14
I just told our audience so much about yourself,

Emily Thompson 12:18
right? Anyone needed to know anything about Paul, there you go.

Paul Jarvis 12:23
Great Canadian superstore best prices on toilet paper,

Kathleen Shannon 12:28
the recycled ones. But I want to come back to this because Emily, you're saying like part of working for yourself is not putting an upper limit on yourself. At the same time, I feel like a lot of our audience is like, What are you talking about? I just want to be making enough money to pay my bills doing what I love. Like there's not even that maximum. You know, where, right?

Emily Thompson 12:49
If you get there, it's usually I usually find yourself not wanting to stop, I suppose like, yes, I do imagine that most of the people listening to this are you know, are just trying to make it to a place where your side hustle is your full time gig. But I've seen it over and over. Once you get to that goal. The idea of stopping usually doesn't even cross your mind and as growth for growth's sake, that you just keep going along. And so maybe this is a chance for us to, you know, explain to everyone who is listening who hasn't found themselves at that place yet how to better act, once they find themselves in that place.

Paul Jarvis 13:30
Yeah, and I love this. And I'm glad you're bringing this up. Because I think this is so important. And I think this is why a lot of people are rubbed the wrong way about minimalism, specifically because I think that there's kind of two distinct stages in, in business, in life in anything where it's like, pre enough, and post enough. And I think the way that you develop a mindset is different for each category. But a lot of times people in the pre enough stage don't change their mindset when they actually have enough. And then I think that's where it's bad. So we talk about this a little more, because I think this is this is probably one of my favorites. I don't even know if I talked about that. I don't think I talked about this in the book. But this relates so much to the book that I think is really important. So I think what you were talking about there, Emily is pre enough. Like if you're just starting, there's no way you have there's no way on day one, you open your doors and you have enough like that's very, that'd be very difficult to do where you have enough income to support yourself and your family, cover your mortgage and put food on the table. So I think in in the pre enough stage where you're working towards, like this full time gig or doing what it needs to sustain you and your life. You do have to hustle you do have to grow you do have to do the things to increase revenue customers all of that and there's nothing wrong with that. Like that, to me is part of business that to me is part of every business because it's not if you're not making enough money then it's not a full time business. You can get there for sure. But until you do, it's still a side hustle, which is fine. Like, I have side hustles. Now, like I've, I've worked for myself forever. And I still have those projects where they don't make enough where that's my full time gig. But the things I like doing, and they're making some money, but where I think the problem comes in, and where the reason why I wrote the book is that people don't stop to think that they've blown past their pre enough mindset into post enough. And they're just like, okay, I just got to keep hustling. Like, when I started out, I was working like 12 1516 hour days. I like that was hard, like, I'm old. Now, if I was doing that, now, I would need stronger glasses. So I think people don't, don't stop to think about or they don't stop to take stock when they've reached enough because it's not really what business teaches you. That's not what capitalism says. If you need to increase like, publicly traded companies are a great example of that, where they don't have their customers or their employees best interests in mind. They have their shareholders of increasing shareholder revenue quarter per quarter. Right. So I think if we stopped to think like how I actually reached enough, and if I have now I can adjust and optimize for having enough. And I think, like I said, that's where I think a lot of people have problems with minimalism, because like, if you're listening to somebody talk about how they'd like pared down their house, and they have like, 32 meticulously placed items in their house, and you're like, I can't even pay my fucking rent, then there's gonna be like, some discord there. Because it's like, how dare you say that I should be living with less when I don't have enough. So I think that there's two distinct mindsets that need to happen there where it's like, in either case, it's fun. It's a fun place to be in, but your priorities and your purpose changes from one to the other.

Kathleen Shannon 16:49
Okay, I have a question. Where do you draw the line of what's enough? Especially if you are an ambitious entrepreneur who, who is I don't want to say blindly chasing growth, but growing with intention, which I think is something that all of us have done, where do you draw the line to say, Okay, this is enough and start optimizing? What's the line of maybe even questioning that you go through to figure out what that is?

Paul Jarvis 17:13
Yeah. So there probably there probably be a bunch of questions of for that, because I think a lot of times, we're so busy working at our business, we don't spend any time working on our business, and we don't spend time reflecting on like, so a couple questions that I think I would ask myself to determine if I was like, in that post enough stage would be things like, do I actually want or need more? How much is enough? And how will I know when I've reached enough? Is there a metric, like whether it's income, whether it's hours work, whether it's number of customers? Like, is there a metric that will determine what my enough is? And then what should change? If I reach that goal, a lot of times growth comes down to our own ego, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like if you're at a dinner party. This is a conversation I had with Jason freed, which is in the book, is it sounds cooler, like at a dinner party with people you don't know to say like, Oh, yeah, I have a company that has I own a company with like, 100 employees versus like, I work for myself from home. Like, there's just that ego of, like, more seems better is perceived as better for by other people. So if that's the case, maybe you just need to hang if you got to go to different dinner parties, like more vegan potlucks or something. Other questions would be, I'm always gonna throw non sequiturs in for you ladies just know, this is always gonna happen. Other questions? What do we

Kathleen Shannon 18:41
know that you're into vegan potlucks and recycled toilet paper? Exactly? Exactly what else? What other easter eggs? This episode?

Paul Jarvis 18:52
Other questions would be and this is a big one is does being bigger or growing helper serve my existing customers more? Because sometimes that's not the case. Another thing is what are the maintenance costs associated with saying yes to this opportunity, or building this feature, adding this new product? And then more personal things to start to think about is how does this grow? How will this growth affect my happiness? or How will this growth affect my daily responsibilities? Because say, like, when I was a web designer, and that was my only job. If I grew and I had opportunities to grow x, I'd like a long waiting list of people wanting to invest in make it an agency. But I was always like, Well, what I love to do is designing websites for people and I grow, then I'm only going to be managing other people designing websites for clients. And that's not what I want to do. So the growth in that aspect, and in that respect doesn't make sense. I think those are all the questions that I would that I would pose as a business owner if I was thinking about growth, because sometimes the answers are going to be Yeah, this makes sense. And then yeah, You should grow.

Emily Thompson 20:01
Right? And I love that at the center of this. It's you. It's like you as the person who's going to be doing the thing, what do you most want or want to accomplish? And I think so often you're right, we're looking for that outside validation of like, Are my neighbors finally going to get what it is that I do? Or you know, is my mom going to be more proud of me or whatever it may be this idea of growth? When you're the one who has to show up and do the thing every day? It's probably good idea that you're excited about it.

Paul Jarvis 20:32
Yeah, exactly. And really, like, I think if you're doing business, right, working for yourself is really just hedonism for profit. Like if you're doing things totally right, you're doing it because you enjoy doing it. Otherwise, you'd work for some, like, if you enjoy working for somebody else, and there's no reason to work for yourself. It's harder. But if you do enjoy it, and it is something that's giving you what you need out of life, and you're making money at it, then cool, like, you don't need to change things up. But dramatic, dramatic.

Kathleen Shannon 21:03
Hey, but then I want to know, we need to talk about this. Because yes, I feel like it does get hard and chasing that hedonism, I think is what gets a lot of people in trouble whenever they could be an amazing entrepreneur. But the second something goes wrong. They're like pivoting, you know, and changing their business model or rebranding and or going back to a day job or doing all the different things. So can we talk a little bit about resilience? And what's involved there whenever it comes to chasing Keaton hedonism for hire?

Paul Jarvis 21:38
Yeah, so I think that he is so first of all, the hedonism has to kind of be balanced between like, your customers, and you can't just, it can't just be about you, because nobody's gonna pay you to be happy. Although I probably not. There might be some, there may be

Kathleen Shannon 21:56
tried. Yeah.

Paul Jarvis 21:56
So I think resilience is one of the most important parts of being a company of one. And in in writing the book, it involved a lot of research. And there's this guy called Dean Becker is the CEO of adaptive learning systems. He studied resilience since the 90s. And he found through these studies that resilience above things like education, training or experience is what's going to determine success in business or for a business as a whole. So being resilient as an entrepreneur or freelancer, whatever the heck you want to call yourself is probably one of the most important things. And there's three traits for being resilient. The first is accepting reality, because there's really not a whole lot we can control in life, even though we think we can we kind of can't, the next the second trait is a sense of purpose, or having like a Northstar. So even if things go wrong, or even if things fail, you're still working towards that greater purpose. And then the third thing is the ability to adapt. And I think out of everything that an like, out of everything you need to put in, like your entrepreneur or your boss toolkit is the ability to adapt because things change all the time markets change, people's sentiments change. Everybody could be like, oh, webinars are the best thing ever. And webinars are going to grow your business. So you do webinars, and then like three months later, webinars no longer work. And you're like, wah, wah. So you have to adapt it, you have to adapt, you have to change, you have to find something else that's going to work because just because something's working, especially when you work for yourself, just because something is working today, doesn't mean it's going to be working tomorrow or the next day in any year, it's probably not going to be working. Okay. You always have to.

Kathleen Shannon 23:44
I've become like super skeptical of what's working for other people. And I mean, this is why we all podcast because we're digging into these things, and really figuring out what works for ourselves and figuring it out as we go and testing and changing and all the things. But I feel like whenever I'm on Instagram or Facebook, and I see an ad for let's say like a Pinterest strategy. I think that's great. But I think if someone's already advertising to you, like grow your Pinterest strategy is probably already too late. Yeah, two

Emily Thompson 24:14
strategies already come and gone. And like if you did it succeeded had time to create a course around that figured out Facebook ads or Instagram ads, and now you're selling it. That strategy doesn't work anymore.

Paul Jarvis 24:25
Yeah. Oh, go ahead.

Kathleen Shannon 24:27
No, you go, you're our guest.

Paul Jarvis 24:31
I wanted to know what you had to say, though.

Kathleen Shannon 24:33
Well, I guess I'm just saying that this is where I think people struggle with some of our content sometimes is that it's not a quick fix. Like we are teaching and wading through these philosophies and concepts that are long term solutions that do help you build up resiliency, and our toolkits that aren't simple formulas, but really things that you have to like put into practice for years and years and years.

Paul Jarvis 25:00
Yeah, and it's a tougher as I sell the same thing, I sell the hard, the harder long term solution. And it's tough. It's a tougher sell, there was an episode of reply all about drop shipping. And the reason I bring it up is because what they found in their research was that people don't make money dropshipping they only make money teaching other people how to dropship. There's no money in dropshipping, there's only money in like making a course or doing like a paid webinar and drop shipping. And I feel like that's the internet right now. I feel like that sums up everything on the internet.

Kathleen Shannon 25:39
Even like my thing with life coaching, where I feel like you make money coaching by teaching other people how to be coaches at this point.

Paul Jarvis 25:47
Yeah, it becomes like peak, whatever it is, there's peak, whatever it is, and then all you can do is make money teaching other people to do it, not just doing it.

Kathleen Shannon 25:57
way. So how do you because I feel like you're still in it doing it. So how do you combat all of that is that by staying small and being a company of one?

Paul Jarvis 26:07
Yeah, a little bit, a lot of it comes down to I would rather teach like, the processes or like the technical know how, as opposed to just like, do these six things, and you will get x because I can't promise like, I can't promise that I don't know how to I like I don't know how to do that. But I know how to like I'm a I'm a nerd, like I'm a systems and processes guy. So I can teach people how to set up their own systems and processes for doing things like freelancing or email marketing. I don't know how to teach people like do this thing. And you'll get this I'm like, here's all of the things I know, here's all the things you need to consider. Here's how you could set up a process. Now do that on your own. So hard, it's a worst sales page.

Kathleen Shannon 26:57
It's not super sexy. I want to rewind a little bit to the resiliency and the adaptability piece of it, because I want to talk a little bit about expertise. And I know that you talk a little bit about expertise in general, like you have lots of thoughts around it. And so I want to dig into your thoughts and feelings on expertise right now. And sometimes I feel like that can box you in from being adoptable, but maybe not. What are your thoughts?

Paul Jarvis 27:22
Yeah, so there's a few things about expertise, which I kind of like I struggle with it. So I think that being an expert kind of pigeonholes you into something so I try really hard to not like I have a vegan cookbook, an online business book, like I, I teach email marketing, like I try to do as many different things as possible, because I don't want to be known as like, person that does x although it's way easier, fine. You know, this caffeine, like it's easier from a branding perspective, to be like that person who knows and does x. But I, I just feel like labels are for jars and like I really Bock hard against identifying with one specific thing. Like I don't really, like I am vegan, but like that doesn't define my identity. So I like and same with like online expertise. The other thing is like, I don't maybe it's because I'm Canadian, or maybe it's because I like and bad at, like thinking of myself positively. But like, I don't want to be an expert, like, because I don't feel like I am. So I feel like I know a lot about a bunch of things, and I'm more than happy to talk about them. But I'm also happy to give the caveat that this is these are the things I know based on my own experiences and my like, my data set of one and that's I think the biggest thing I have a problem with with expertise is that people take what they've done to succeed at one thing and said, this is how it works. And if you did that in science, you would be laughed like all the people in lab coats would be like, tiny data set, bro, like, get a bigger sample size. I'm sure that's exactly how scientists talk. I'm sure that

Kathleen Shannon 29:15
I guess for me though, whenever it comes to thinking about being creative entrepreneur, solopreneur, freelancer, whatever you want to call it company of one, I find a lot of security and expertise and I feel like whenever I need to cultivate some confidence, I can come back to Okay, here's what I know. But then also allowing room for curiosity and flexibility because this is the freedom that we all crave whenever it comes to working for ourselves is to be able to do whatever we want and really just trusting that. Okay, if I follow this new path, okay, for example, I remember just three years in maybe even less than that of starting my branding agency braid creative, which I already had expertise in from working in advertising for five years. I decided that I wanted to do some coaching training with Martha Beck. And at the time, I was like, is this going to diffuse my expertise? What does it mean for my identity and who I am in this online business space, but then trusting that, okay, maybe this will somehow fit into the bigger picture. And now in hindsight, you know, years later, I can see all the threads of how it all comes into my business and my business vision and how it all works together. And it's like, I feel confident in that I know myself, like, I'm an expert in myself. And a lot of that piece of the pie is in branding. But then also like podcasting, even we all three have a course together on podcasting. And now we're, you know, quote unquote, experts in that because we have a lot of hours under our belt, and then how does that fit into the branding picture and the coaching picture, and I can see how it all fits together in hindsight, pretty clearly. So I don't know, these are me working through my thoughts on expertise, because I find a lot of security in it. But I also find that pigeon holing like I don't want to just be doing one thing, I kinda want to be known for one thing, but I want to be doing lots of things.

Paul Jarvis 31:12
Yeah, I'm kind of the same. And I kind of the way that I kind of wrap my head around it is that I'm not really an expert. I'm just further along than some people in a couple areas where like, I know my shit about a bunch of things. I don't know if I would call myself an expert, but I feel like, I want to share what I know, on those subjects. And I think that that that, to me, feels good. But like, I wouldn't call myself like an expert or a thought leader or something like that, because that doesn't really feel like authentic or real to me. But I like I love learning. So I feel like I'm I'm probably the only thing I'm an expert at is learning like I spend hours a day learning stuff. Because I love the things that I'm really interested in. And I'm going to do and learn as much as I can. And I feel as well, the more I know about a subject, the more I realize, I don't know that a subject like I think something is like just this and like, I'll just learn this, and I'll be good. And then I get into it. I'm like, Oh no, like yoga. Like, for the longest time I was like, like six months into doing yoga. I was like, Okay, I can do advanced classes. Now like I get these B, I get the level one vinyasa, like down, I got the flow down. And then the more I learned about yoga, and the more that I studied it, I was like, there's so much I could be doing or learning in like the beginner or the level one flow classes that like, I'm just gonna stay like I still am this, like, I probably been doing yoga for like 1012 years now I like I still just do level one classes. So I'm like, I there's so much I could be learning mostly about like the kinetics and the specific movements and position like, I just need to know more about this. And then I'll move on to level two. And I still haven't. So

Emily Thompson 32:57
yeah, I want to speak for a second going back from yoga to, to having lots of different like skills or buckets of knowledge in your own brain. I always think of it in terms of and I for a long time was like, you know, become an expert at something like we all go to college to get degrees in a thing, to go get a job doing that thing to do that thing for the next 20 3040 years, whatever it may be, like, we're all definitely taught that taught this idea of diving into a subject learning everything you can about it becoming an expert, and then that just being your path. But as a creative and after we've talked to so many creatives over the past couple of years, and co wrote a couple of super interesting books about the subject. I've gathered this idea that you know, the real, the real availability of like creative energy, and insight and perspective doesn't so much come from getting so narrow in a subject, that you know everything about that one thing, it comes from having knowledge in several different areas, and then then being able to take that compendium of knowledge and come up with something completely new and different by combining all of them together. And I think that's where that's where you get this perspective that no one else can have. So basically, you can become an expert at being yourself, and whatever that looks like. And it really being a combination of everything that you've ever done or everything you've ever studied or everything you've ever dove into in terms of your interest or curiosities. And those are the kinds of things that give you the ability to have, you know, moments of creative awesomeness or the ability to make decisions in your business that are unlike anything that's ever been done before. Because I think we can all agree that what's happening in business right now is unlike anything that's ever happened before, and what can happen in business is unlike any Anything that anyone could ever imagine? And I think it's going to be those of us who explore many topics, and maybe in some ways become an expert at none of them. Are we able to become a quote unquote expert at whatever it is that we create? Sort of what word Am I thinking of? I don't know, mash together, the mash is not the word. But you know what I mean?

Kathleen Shannon 35:28
I think that the problem though, is whenever we see people just kind of flitting from one thing to another. Whereas I think all of us whenever it comes to whether or not we feel like an expert, the things that we're digging into and learning, we're spending years on yours. It's not like we just did five podcasts and then stopped. We did Yes,

we're in four years of podcasting, or, you know, designing websites, you guys both did that for years, and then took those skill sets and mash it with something else. So I do think that there is this level of, maybe not expertise, but maybe commitment, like some commitment to doing a thing for a while, so that then you can like you were saying, Emily, take some of that knowledge and skill and apply it to something else. And I think that there's a certain amount of I don't know, I keep thinking about like the privilege that comes with expertise, right. And so like, the privilege that comes with minimalism, is that you can afford to not have a lot, right. And I think the privilege that comes with expertise is that you can afford to say that you don't know what you don't know. Or you can afford to take bits and pieces of it and then apply it to something else that feels a little bit riskier, I suppose.

Emily Thompson 36:42
And I remember the word I was trying to think of a second ago, and it was collage, you're trying to collage together. Right and bringing back the old like creative energy into it. Because I think of it as like creating a life that is a work of art, if you will, you take all these different, all these different topics or ideas or interest or whatever. And you can put them all together to create something beautiful. So there you go.

Paul Jarvis 37:08
Yeah, that was beautiful.

Emily Thompson 37:10
Thank you. Mash was significantly less beautiful. But

Paul Jarvis 37:14
when I go, you're saying but then you just made it. You just like up the eloquence game.

Emily Thompson 37:18
There we go.

Paul Jarvis 37:20
Yeah, I think it's true. Like I think a lot of the people that I look up to got really, really good at one thing. And that wasn't very interesting. But then they got they got really good at that thing. And then they're like, Okay, what can I take that thing? And how can I apply that to all of these other different things? And then it becomes it because exactly what you said that, like creativity is called is combining things. Right? Like, even like the way that I market is pretty much how I used to market the band that I was in when we were booking tours in North America. Like all of the things I learned about marketing first came from like being in an indie band, and being on the road. And then it's like, I've known like

Kathleen Shannon 38:00
that. What have you learned about marketing from your indie band? Oh, my goodness, serious?

Paul Jarvis 38:07
Yeah. So there's, there's a bunch of things. And I think it was, so one of the biggest things was always trying to figure out like, the value, like, it wasn't just about me, because I was in charge of doing the, the the media booking. And then my wife because the ban that we were in was me and my wife and a couple other people. And she was in charge of booking the venues. So I did all of the like PR stuff. So for me, it was always like, Okay, how can I relate this to value for this, like publication or eight, it was mostly like college radio stations when those existed. So it was mostly like what, like, what would be interesting for them? About Us, instead of just like, Hey, I'm in a band, can I be on your show? It's like, what interesting thing can we talk about, that your audience could benefit from? And so what did that look like? Um, a lot of times, it was like, listening to like, figuring out what the show, like what they had on the show, or like, what the college was interested in, or like, even, like, just funny things, like, figuring out the, the host my space, because this is like when MySpace was a big thing. So figuring out who the host was on and seeing what their interests were on my space and like relating it to, so like even a good example. So email DHH for an endorsement for my book.

Kathleen Shannon 39:24
This is an Heinemeier Hansson, yeah,

Paul Jarvis 39:26
my friend. You did it. You did a great interview with him, which is why I bring him up. And so in that he I didn't know him in the email. I emailed him about the about the book, but also talk about cars. Because like, we both love cars, we both love racing. He's obviously like, really good at racing, and I just like racing for fun. But like, that's the kind of thing that I think Stan like he's endorsed the book now. And like, he probably doesn't endorse a whole lot of books is my guess. But like, just things like that, where it's like, relating to another person as a person instead of just like, here's the thing. You don't know me, but here's what I want from you. It's like that doesn't I don't think that works.

Kathleen Shannon 40:05
Yeah. I know, this makes me think about I've been, I told another friend about this recently the hot shit 200 list. And I feel like I've talked about it enough times on being boss, but I'm gonna mention it again, because it's been a while. But one of the things I like doing whenever it comes to pitching or, you know, collaborating, or anything is making a list of 200 people that you're interested in that you admire, it could be specific people, it could be brands, and this can be in a spreadsheet, and then put in their Instagram handle, put in their URL, you might realize you're not even following them on Instagram, and you totally admire them or that you haven't signed up for their newsletter, sign up for their newsletter, hit reply and tell them why you like them, like just build this relationship. And eventually, this hot shit 200 lists will turn into something so much, it will open doors for you. And I think that this is just a really small example. But it allows you to get to know that person is the equivalent of finding them on mind space and seeing what they're interested in and just connecting with them on a human level.

Paul Jarvis 41:09
Yeah, because you probably find them interesting. Like, regardless of what you think you might want from them, you probably find them ridiculously interesting. You just want to get to know them. Right? Like, it just makes sense. To me. It makes so much sense.

Kathleen Shannon 41:22
Yeah. All right, what else what else you want to talk about? This is this is how I talk to my friends or like my sister. I'm like, Okay, so what else? What else is there? Um, okay, I want to talk about some tactical things. Okay, we can do that. Okay. So whenever it comes to questioning growth, and it comes to growing? How do you balance out like, and I'm thinking about things like hiring contractors versus employees, things that allow you to be a little more nimble or things like, how do you manage your time to get it all done, especially if you don't want to work with any contractors or employees? Or what kinds of processes or automations can help you be more efficient in just being one person, like, let's say, going back to your web development days, and that's what you want to focus on is actually developing a website? How do you maintain your focus around that? and still do all the admin business stuff?

Paul Jarvis 42:25
Yeah, so for me it always, and I said this earlier, like, it always comes down to processes like are processes because I'm Canadian, even though most of my friends are American. So I say like most of the American slang or pronunciations, but I think like, a lot of creative people think that their creative work, cannot have constraints, otherwise, it won't be creative. But I think in reality, like creativity thrives on constraints. And the reason I could do so much web design work, when that's what I was doing is because I had such a set process like, this is exactly how long this trunk is going to take. This is what we're going to do. And I would be very explicit with my clients like, this is how long the project is, this is everything we're doing basically every single day in the project. This is why it's getting done in 30 days and not open ended. Because like if I booked open ended projects, I don't know when I could take on other clients. So I always had like, the best systems and I was always relentless about, okay, if I'm Stumbling on this step, or if clients are always Stumbling on this step, then we're changing this step. And so it was like an evolution of process. And the other thing is, like, I always try to weigh, like how much this is going to cost me in terms of time versus how much is it going to cost me if I just pay somebody else to do it. Like podcast editing, I'm sure I could figure out how to be a really good podcast editor. My podcast editor charges a really good price. So I'm going to pay on his it's easier just to pay him like I make money on sponsors. It's easy for me to just give that to him. It's just like my copy editor. I am the worst at finding. I'm the worst writer technically, like I'm really good at putting ideas down. That kind of makes sense to me with funny stories about recycled toilet paper. But I'm really bad at like typos and grammar and all of that. So like I have to pay like for the longest time I had my wife do but then I started to write so much that like I couldn't. Hey, do you have like six hours today to copy edit my work, honey, and yeah, it's too much. So I

Kathleen Shannon 44:28
got a fire. Exactly.

Paul Jarvis 44:30
I'm busy doing life saving shit. So but yeah, so like, for me, it's always that or it's like, the other thing that I like to think about is like, what another person? Would it would it be better off working with another person on this project? Like I have three partners right now, but they're not partners in my business. They're partners in specific projects or products that I have. So like Kaylee Moore and I do creative class. And like it wouldn't make sense for me to work. Put her on everything Oh, actually probably works. These are really good copywriter. So I could benefit from her skills on everything. But for this, I just worked with her on that I have a partner for fathom analytics, one of my software products and a partner for Pico, it doesn't make sense to make a company like these three people plus me, but it makes sense to work with them on specific things. And that way like, I don't have to work with them on more things if I don't want to.

Kathleen Shannon 45:25
I have a question about this. Do you partner with them so that you're not like, why aren't you just paying Kaylee versus partnering with her? Is it so that you don't have that upfront cost, and then you both are incentivized to make it work?

Paul Jarvis 45:37
So one is the incentivization. The other thing is that I like if I know that I need help on something long term, and I know that I don't just need help but input and insights, then it makes more sense to partner with somebody. Like she's constantly coming. Like, if I was paying her as a freelancer, she probably would, because she's really nice. But like she because we're partners on this project, she's always sharing like, hey, what if we try this thing, or add this thing to the course or do this for the students. And I'm like, I want her to think like that. Like, I want her to feel ownership in that project. Because I feel ownership in that project. Same with my other partners. Same with when I do stuff with Jason, like, it only makes sense for us to work on things as partners, as opposed to just like hiring somebody. Whereas like, my copy editor, I only like he's awesome, but I only need him for one very specific, like very focused thing. Where's my partners? I need them for like, vision stuff

Kathleen Shannon 46:34
as well. Okay, I have another question. What if someone came to you was like, hey, I want you to write a book on creative class, then are you doing that with your partner? Like, whenever a project scales is I guess what I'm asking what happens?

Paul Jarvis 46:49
Yeah, so we look, we look at that. So like the the split for core sales is different with Kaylee and I versus the split with podcasting. So it's different for everything. So the contract that we have, or the agreement that we like it is a legal contract, but it's also just like, a logical reasonable agreement with each other is that when we're working on something, we're working on it, if something new comes up, then we renegotiate.

Kathleen Shannon 47:15
That's so it's like really project specific? Oh, yeah. Within that brand, that you have that partner? Yeah, I'm leaving agreement?

Paul Jarvis 47:25
Yeah, we do we have a contract that we signed, same with shareholder agreements, because the other two things are companies. So we have shareholder agreements. And it's like, we just have like, one share each, or whatever the breakdown is. But yeah, we just have agreements with each other. And it's good to have these conversations first, too. Like for Danny and jack, we basically talked about what we wanted out of the business, like if every single thing goes, right, what do we think that looks like? Because if it's not gonna line up, then we're gonna get into tricky situations, like for one of the projects that we're working on, somebody offered us a million dollars to like, build a project faster. And if we weren't, if my partner and I weren't on the same page, then one of us would be like, heck, yeah, I want a million dollars. And I'd be like, what are we gonna spend that on? That sounds cool. But like, what do we need that for? And I can't come up with anything. So like, it makes sense to be on board with a partner, not just like where you are now. But where things could potentially go in the future? Because like, if your visions are different than what Oh,

Kathleen Shannon 48:31
I know, I even think about that, as far as like being boss and the growth that we have. And Emily and I have very much been on the same page. But what if we were just partnering on each aspect of being boss. So we're partnering on just the podcast, and then we're partnering on, you know, just the book. But then I'm trying to think about like, what that means for the rest of the brand. I that's, that's interesting. I'm had to wrap my head around that. But I love that idea just as far as the incentivizing goes. And then also, a lot of creative entrepreneurs don't have the money upfront to hire somebody. So it does make sense to partner because you both have skin in the game, and it's less overhead. And it's a win win situation.

Paul Jarvis 49:09
Yeah. And it's to

Kathleen Shannon 49:11
lose situation.

Paul Jarvis 49:12
That too, but yeah, it's it's two minds. Like I think, when people feel ownership, like when I was doing client work, I care like I wanted every one of my clients to succeed, but like, if they didn't contact me and ask for something more, I wasn't really, like, I'm not thinking about them if I'm not working on a project for them, whereas like, the stead of my pride, the ones that I own, I'm always thinking about them, like what can be made better? Where can we find wins? Where can we do a little bit of work and get a bigger reward?

Emily Thompson 49:43
Hmm, I have to wrap my head around that one too, for sure. Because I also think like going back to if they were employees, I think if right, what is the difference then between having an employee for whom you are providing so many things versus a partner.

Kathleen Shannon 50:04
That's well, and then also think about creative control, you know, and it's just a lot of conversations upfront. You're like, who's still the Boss Boss? If shit goes down?

Paul Jarvis 50:15
Yeah, like your your business marrying this person. So you get like, if you're not talking about politics, religion and kids before you get married, like, you're probably gonna have some tricky conversations. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 50:28
okay. This is something I've been wanting to ask you about. Because listening to your podcasts changing trust could go anywhere. I didn't realize that you were like such an investor.

Paul Jarvis 50:40
Yeah, but not even like, I don't even like I'm a stupid investor. But I do. Like, I've always thought that savings are a good idea.

Kathleen Shannon 50:52
And so how does that play into your philosophy of a company of one or even your business or your feelings of security or ability to take risk? Like, does that play into it at all that you're, you feel taken care of because of your own savings account?

Paul Jarvis 51:07
Yeah. And I think even if you work, like, I think, in terms of like mindset, even if you work for somebody else, or work for a massive company, like you've, you've really got to think about yourself as a company of one because nobody else is going to give a shit as much as you do about your financial security. Right, like a company could fire like, a company could fire you at any time, basically. And so I've always thought like, it's weird, because like, on the one hand, I done Jason and I talked about this on invisible officers, like, on one hand, I don't want to retire because I love my job. But on the other hand, I want that f you money where I can just work because this is this is like I just did doing this thing as opposed to like, Okay, well, I I know, I need to make this amount of money. So I cover like my mortgage and my organic vegan food and my recycled toilet paper. I'm just gonna keep coming back to that. This whole episode. Yes, yeah. So I think that having savings and I think that's, it's so funny, because I was watching Hard Knocks, which is pre game NFL behind the scenes. And with the Cleveland Browns, this era can't roll or who the player is. But he was talking about compound interest to like the other defensive linebackers are something and like, he's got this big whiteboard, or they're usually like going over plays, and he's talking, he's showing like how investing like 100 grand and compound interest apply to that equals so much more money in 10 years, in 20 years, and 100 years or whatever, like, this is awesome. This is reaching, like, peak market penetration of talking about things like compound interest, because like these NFL players, and like, they make a lot of money. So like, they're gonna see some huge returns on, like, for whatever index funds pay out at, and right now it's a lot like the Super Bowl market, like is paying out a lot higher, but like, if the average is about 4%, then you're gonna start to see some savings. Like even for myself, like I started investing, when I was about 20. And it wasn't even, like, it sounds cool. Like, I was investing at 20. But like, I was putting away like, $50 a month. Like, right and that's, that's like, that's what I had to put in, but $50 a month over, like maybe 40 years where you're earning your earning potential of working is gonna add up and then like, are they started making more? Like I know what enough is in terms of like, what I need, personally for my personal revenue a year to cover like my cost of living, everything past that, that my business makes, just goes into index funds, like cheap index funds, who a robo advisor, advisor, like just on the internet, I just transfer the money. And then I see like, Oh, this month, I have it like 9%. I made like 9%. And like that shit adds up.

Kathleen Shannon 53:56
I so I listened to your episode of invisible office hours where you're talking about this, and I went in and bumped up my 401k from 4% to 6%. Just a little bit.

Paul Jarvis 54:07
But like that makes it like, it doesn't make a difference, right? or it doesn't seem like it makes a difference now because it may be like $10 or $50 or $100. But then, like if you look at the graph, like in 20 years, it's like, oh, you have $1.2 million, or like $3.6 million?

Unknown Speaker 54:24

Kathleen Shannon 54:26
All right. What is the one thing that you want people to remember if they're buying company a one your book? Like, what do you want them to remember from it? Like what is just good key takeaway?

Paul Jarvis 54:38
Yeah, I think the key takeaway isn't that you don't have to be anti growth, like the book really isn't anti growth, like growth makes sense in a lot of cases. But I think what you need to do is question growth. So whether it makes sense for your business, your customers and yourself. And I think if we start to focus instead on making our businesses or our lives better, instead of Just bigger. I think that feels like that feels like a takeaway for me. I don't know, other people might be like, I can't. That's boring. But like, for me that's like, this is huge. Like, I started when I started thinking this way. And when I started to, like, wrap my brain around this, I was like, such a fucking weirdo. Like, why am I the only person who thinks like this. And then I started sharing it and other people were like, I'm a weirdo to Paul. And so like, I think there's a lot like there, it just comes back to like, there's more than one way to do business. And you don't have to be like Zuck to win a business like you can win it, like the stories in company of one are mostly stories about people who are just like, having such a good life. And they make good money, but they don't need to make more money to have a better life, because they just have a good life where they're at working on better and optimizing for better as opposed to just bigger.

Kathleen Shannon 55:53
I love it. Where can our listeners find the book?

Paul Jarvis 55:56
Ah, everywhere that books are sold. That's the good thing about having a publisher is it's in. It's in target. I don't like there aren't even targets here. But you can get it in target apparently. Yeah, Amazon audible. Every independent bookstore if they don't have it, tell them to get it because they can probably get it pretty easily. Yes.

Kathleen Shannon 56:18
Target some good distribution.

Paul Jarvis 56:21
I didn't even know target sold books because I'm not in South America. It's

Kathleen Shannon 56:25
a big deal. That's a big deal. Paul, congrats. Yeah, thanks. Um, okay, and what's making you feel most boss right now?

Paul Jarvis 56:35
That's a good question. So I think because where I'm at, because I know this episode comes out a bit after we're talking. So I think the thing that's making me feel the most boss is people that I really admire and love endorsing the book like you ladies. Like it. Like I read the point right now where I'm like, they're starting to come in from people and like, Oh, this is so nice. So yeah, that totally makes me feel boss right now.

Kathleen Shannon 57:03
And I can't wait for the day that your book comes out. Like just all the like, excitement is such a good feeling. I'm so excited for you.

Paul Jarvis 57:10
Yeah. Thanks for shooting you. You guys have been sharing a bunch of tips like privately for book stuff with me because you're much further along in the process than I am. So thank you for that as well. I appreciate it.

Emily Thompson 57:22
Anytime. Thank you for coming to hang out with us, Paul. Yay.

Kathleen Shannon 57:32
Hey, bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day hit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity, find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kit. Go to courses that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business.

Emily Thompson 58:08
Thank you for listening to being boss. If you're looking for more help and being boss of your work in life accom check out our website where you can find Episode shownotes browser archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, quizzes and more. It's all at WWW dot being boss dot club. Do the work. Be boss